Arthritis is a common condition that is estimated to effect around 10 million people in the UK. Those living with the condition often experience pain and stiffness of the joints as well as difficulty performing normal daily activities. This in turn can cause low mood and a sense of isolation.
Arthritis is a normal part of the body's response to use as we grow older but some people may be more susceptible to arthritis for genetic reasons, because of the work they have done or following physical trauma to a joint which can lead to arthritis at a younger age or more severe arthritis with aging.
There is a perception that there is nothing that can be done for you once you have received a diagnosis of arthritis and that it is just something that you will need to put up with or that medication or surgery is the only way. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. There are lots of things that people with arthritis can do to help themselves to maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle and an osteopath can help you to develop an action plan that works for you.
Research shows that becoming more physically active is extremely beneficial for all of us, including those with arthritis. Strengthening the muscles in the front of the upper leg (the Quadraceps) has been proven to reduce the pain of knee arthritis in many people. Simple stretching exercises can help to improve the flexibility of joints. Doing exercises that help to keep the heart and lungs healthy can reduce the progression of the condition in many cases and in some cases, improve things considerably. Simple relaxation exercises and techniques as well as Mindfulness or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help with pain and some of the psychological effects of arthritis. A healthy diet is very important and manual therapy and advice on pacing your activities can all be helpful.
Osteopathic practice is a safe and effective form of manual therapy, dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of health problems that we experience as we get older, including arthritis. Your osteopath can use gentle hands-on treatment as well as exercises and advice to help you to get back to doing the things that you want to do.
Helena is an Arthritis Action registered Therapist, which means she works with Arthritis Action to help support their Members in living the best way they can with arthritis. You can find out more about Arthritis Action, free advice and information plus the additional benefits it offers to members here arthritisaction.org.uk