Osteopaths spend a vast amount of time dealing with pain and suffering caused by arthritis. Many people mistakenly assume that they must learn to live with their arthritic pains and symptoms. In many cases, osteopaths are able to help considerably. Pain relief and lifestyle management improve the quality of life for arthritis sufferers. There are many types of arthritis, the most common one presenting in practice being osteoarthritis (OA). It is associated with the phrases “wear and tear” and “pain you just have to live with when you get older”.
OA can be caused by many factors, including previous injury, excessive stress on one area and poor posture. These changes in the joints, soft tissue and bones can cause pain, reduced range of motion, reduced muscle strength and impaired quality of life by limiting normal daily activities.
Treatment includes exercise, nutrition, education, manual therapy and weight loss, particularly if the OA is present in weight-bearing joints such as hips and knees. Osteopathy can be aimed to reduce the pain, decrease joint swelling, increase mobility and improve joint stiffness, particularly in the morning. Treatment includes joint mobilisation, joint manipulation and soft tissue massage. On average the patient is seen weekly until the symptoms are manageable. Then thereafter, a monthly treatment pattern is recommended, with an aim to slowly space out treatments even more. This is determined by the severity of OA and how the patient responds to treatment.