Arthritis is a very common condition which generally results in warmth, swelling, stiffness and inflammation of the joints. There are several types, the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is degeneration of the cartilage between the joint surfaces that eventually results in the bony surfaces rubbing together causing inflammation, pain and stiffening of the joint. Due to the nature of the condition it mainly affects weight bearing joints and is more common in people over the age of 40, however it can occur at any age. As the joint surface wear, the body attempts to replace the bone which can result in osteophytes or spurs around the joint sometimes causing additional pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is when the body’s own immune system starts to attack the joints resulting in pain, stiffness and often swelling of the joints affected. The fluid surrounding the joint tends to be affected first however as the condition continues the inflammation spreads through the joint which may result in breakdown of the cartilage between the joint.
How can Bridgeham help?
It may be surprising to learn that there is more arthritis in the knees of sedentary workers than marathon runners. The joints must move and we are strong advocates of ‘use it or lose it’. We’re not suggesting you run a marathon, but we want you to move and move well.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, however there are methods of slowing down the processes and maintaining mobility within the joints. At Bridgeham we would advise that you see one of the osteopaths for an initial appointment to examine the extent and severity of the arthritis. The osteopath will then implement a treatment plan of joint specific articulation and drainage techniques as part of a maintenance programme.
At Bridgeham we would also highly recommend those suffering with arthritis try to keep as mobile as possible. And so, you may be advised to have a 1:1 Pilates session where they can tailor your exercises specifically to you and your condition. Or you may be advised to take part in Pilates group class or tai chi class. Both offer a range of exercises all at low level impact designed to increase mobility without putting additional strain on the joints.
Some Arthritis sufferers have found that looking at their diet also helps. This can be from eating less of the things that irritate arthritis or eating more of the things that help it. Our nutrition consultant can advise and guide you about this.
As stated previously, there is no cure for arthritis therefore recovery is based on management of the condition and dependent on the severity of the condition. However, with some manual treatment and regular low impact exercise we have found great success in the management of patients with arthritis.
“By having treatment and attending Pilates classes has helped me to keep fit right into my 70’s! I also like the help and advice given then I have had various problems that needed medical help and the time taken to do this.” -Mrs M