Osteopathy is useful in alleviating the symptoms of Arthritis

Types of arthritis which respond well to Osteopathy include:

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is common condition that causes pain and inflammation to joints. Although considered a “later life” disease, arthritis can affect people at any age including children and it is estimated that approximately 10 million people in the UK have arthritis.

What Causes Arthritis?

There is no single cause of arthritis and it is thought that most types are caused by a genetic predisposition to the disease. This means that you are more likely to suffere from arthritis if a member of your immediate family also suffers from it. Enviromental factors such as injury, infection, smoking and demanding occupations which involve lifting, stretching or repetitive movements can also increase the risk of contracting arthritis if you have an existing genetic predisposition to the disease.

Types of Arthritis

While there are many different forms of arthritis, the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis: The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects around 8 million people in the UK and usually affects the hands, spine, knees and hips. Often considered a “later life” complaint as it tends to develop in people over the age of 50, it can also occur at any age as a result of injury or another joint related condition.

Osteoarthritis usually begins by affecting the smooth cartilage lining of the joint and causing pain and stiffness. As the cartilage lining thins, tissues within the joint become more active leading to swelling and the formation of bony spurs (osteophytes). As the disease progresses, the cartilage between the joints can erode which causes the bones in the joint to rub together.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease which affects more the 400,000 people in the UK. Symptoms tend to manifest themselves between the ages of 40 and 50 years and women are 3 times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men.

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering of the joint is the first place to be affected. This then spreads across the joint leading to further swelling and a change in the shape of the joint. Bone and cartilage can also break down and people with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.

How does Osteopathy help reduce symptoms of Arthritis?

It must be stressed that osteopathy cannot cure arthritis however the various forms of osteopathic treatment now available can considerably reduce painful symptoms of the disease and also increase mobility in affected joints.

The form of treatment may vary depending upon the individual, type of arthritis and level of discomfort suffered. Generally however gentle manipulative techniques using vibrotherapy and shockwave therapy are used to reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility and ease swelling.