Arthritis or osteoarthritis, are words which needlessly scare many into believing they’re over the hill, or that there’s little or nothing that can be done to alleviate their discomfort. Thankfully, for many of our clients this is rarely true.
Arthritis is caused by wear and tear through normal ageing. But it can be accelerated & come on much earlier in life through heavy and repetitive overuse of the joints. Accidents (trauma) can also trigger the process.
Having some understanding of the nature of arthritis and what can be done about it will help enormously.
What happens in arthritis?
Wear and tear causes thinning of the discs or cartilage between bony surfaces of joints. The resultant pain & inflammation cause the surrounding soft tissues to shorten & the sufferer to use the joint less. This reduced use deprives the joint of adequate lubrication, drainage & nutrition. Muscle weakness then usually follows from reduced use.
Sometimes the body deposits extra bone in high stress areas. This can limit movement or, if in the spine, press on nerves to give arm or leg symptoms.
You can do a number of things to alleviate arthritic conditions, but it is a balance between using and aggravating.
Our advice is that you:
- Stay active – gently encourage the affected joints to move into the painful area.
- If possible, select exercise which puts less weight through the joint to move it. Swimming is good in this respect
- Get treatment. Stretching and activity will help, but it can be difficult to focus your efforts on a very specific part of the body in the most appropriate way.
- Stay positive. Remember, many people who have arthritis on their x-rays are symptom free! Why shouldn’t you be one of them?
We help by gently loosening the shortened tissues around the area, improving mobility and promoting better drainage and nutrition.
Too vigorous a treatment will merely aggravate the pain by traumatising the shortened tissues. Response to any treatment depends on the severity of the degeneration that has taken place.
We can also help you with strengthening muscles that have become weak, often without the need for any expensive or specialized equipment.