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Three Lessons for People with Arthritis

 

  • Getting stronger will help with the symptoms of Osteoarthritis
  • Osteopathy can significantly improve your movement and symptoms
  • A healthy diet can help to slow the progression of arthritis, and improve its symptoms

 

The name Osteoarthritis – Osteo (bones) arthritis (joint inflammations) – suggests (incorrectly) that the condition is simply localised to the surfaces of the joints it affects.

The truth is that Osteoarthritis manifests in many of the tissues surrounding our joints, such as the muscles and ligaments.

It is in fact often these tissues, rather than the joint surfaces themselves, that are responsible the the symptoms associated with the condition.

Below are three important lessons for all of us, if we want to age well.

Arthritis is NOT  the wearing out of joints from overuse.

People who are active are in fact at LOWER risk of Osteoarthritis than sedentary people. As we age, the natural processes of our bodies cause our muscles to weaken and out joints to stiffen. However, specific training  to keep our muscles strong, and keeping our joints moving helps to slow and even reverse this process. Even in the presence of arthritis, appropriate exercise and movement can significantly improve symptoms. At Central Osteopaths we can guide you on the safest, most effective exercise for you – with as little as 20 minutes, three times a week, just a little work can make your life better.

Hands-on treatment such as massage and stretching, and gentle mobalisation of joints can really help too.

Much of the pain and stiffness associated with Osteoarthritis comes from the surrounding muscular and connective tissues, and manual therapy improves the health and  sensitivity of these tissues. Although we advise a mix of strategies, including strengthening, research shows that hands-on treatment alone can have significant impact up people’s pain and movement.

Body Weight

I’m sure you have heard the advice to lose weight to avoid or improve Osteoarthritis . Most people assume that this is because excess weight causes increased forces to pass through joints, and therefore increase ‘wear and tear’. Actually it has been shown that high body weight in itself is not a risk factor for developing hip or knee Osteoarthritis, but instead an increased ratio of body fat to muscle. This is true not just in the weight bearing joints of the spine, hip, or knee, but also of the wrist and fingers. Fat cells, that we all have whether overweight or not, secrete a number of chemicals that help to regulate the functioning of the body, however, when people have an excess of body fat, there is an increased secretion of these chemicals that is thought to contribute to the development  of Osteoarthritis. Losing weight, and eating a healthy diet including lots of vegetables, and Omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly improve the symptoms of arthritis.

 

Don’t let joint pain or stiffness stop you from doing what you want to do. By setting realistic goals, and making small changes to your life, you can improve your health, improve your movement, and improve your life. We’re here at Central Osteopaths, with the tools to help.

Find out more about Central Osteopaths here

Matt Penman

Blog compiled by by Matt Penman M.Ost, Head Osteopath at Central Osteopaths

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