Arthritis may be divided into two types – degenerative and inflammatory. Degenerative or osteoarthritis is the commonest form, sometimes called ‘wear and tear’ and is usually localised to a specific site such as the hips, knees or spine. Its classic features of pain, stiffness and restricted mobility may often be eased and improved with skilled osteopathic treatment.
Inflammatory arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis is generally a systemic disease affecting not just joints but the whole body. It produces severe pain, stiffness and often deformity.
Osteopathy treatment has a large part to play in the overall management of arthritis. Osteopathy for people with arthritis is aimed to:
- Provide immediate relief from symptoms
- Reduce pain and swelling
- Promote range of joint movement
- Improve mobility
- Assist in rehabilitation after surgery such as hip replacement
- Educate on how you can improve your quality of life through diet and nutritional support, posture, and exercise.
Treatment is not painful and often symptom relief begins immediately. Treatments may include:
Mobilisation and manipulation techniques are passive movements applied to a joint or soft tissue by the Osteopath in a specific manner to help restore full movement to a joint that is painful and restricted. Manual therapy is often useful in the chronic forms of arthritis and is often successful when other methods, such as heat and exercises, have given little or no relief.
Exercise A balanced program of rest and exercise, and careful attention to joint posture is an important part of pain management, joint protection and maintenance of your joint function. Controlled exercise helps lessen pain and stiffness and and exercise, and careful attention to joint posture is an important part of pain management, joint protection and maintenance of your joint function. Controlled exercise helps lessen pain and stiffness and improves the strength of muscles and ligaments, so helping to stabilise joints. Exercise in warm water or salt baths may also be recommended.
Self-Management Individuals who participate in self-management programs notice decrease in joint pain and frequency of arthritis-related doctors’ visits, increases in physical activity and overall improvement in quality of life. You will be given positiveadvice related to your lifestyle and about how you use your body. You may also be given advice about your diet, which in some people may be a factor in their arthritis.
S T R E T C H OF THE MONTH
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Try a relaxation technique that involves tensing and relaxing the muscles of each part of the body, one part at a time, start with sitting or reclining in a quiet, comfortable setting with one’s shoes off:
- Make a fist with your right hand for 5–8 seconds, and then relax it.
- Bend your right arm to flex your biceps, and then relax it.
- Make a fist with your left hand, and then relax it.
- Bend your left arm to flex your biceps, and then relax it.
- Raise your eyebrows, and then relax your face.
- Squeeze your eyes shut, then relax.
- Clench your teeth and grimace, then relax.
- Afterward, close your eyes and remain relaxed, breathing deeply.
Arthritis & Food
When it comes to specific foods you should eat, an anti-inflammatory diet involves avoiding foods that make inflammation worse and eating plenty of foods that reduce inflammation. These foods all help to reduce some aspect of inflammation include:
Omega-3 fatty acids Salmon, herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, oysters, eggs, flaxseed (ground & oil) and walnuts.
Extra-virgin olive oil Use olive oil when cooking.
Antioxidants May help prevent arthritis, slow its progression & relieve pain.
Vitamin C Guava, sweet peppers, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple, lemons, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, kidney beans, cauliflower, red cabbage, mangos.
Selenium Brazil nuts, tuna, crab, oysters, pasta (whole-wheat), lean beef, cod, whole grains, turkey & wheat germ.
Carotenes Sweet potato, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkin, mustard greens, red pepper, apricots and spinach.