Osteopathy and Arthritis
Arthritis can generally be divided into two basic types: Degenerative or Osteoarthritis is the most common form and is linked with ‘wear and tear’ of the joints resulting from excessive stress and strain put on an area through poor posture, heavy manual work and old injuries. The joints involved become worn, painful, and stiff. This type of arthritis is commonly seen and treated effectively by Osteopaths.
Inflammatory arthritis such Rheumatoid Arthritis not only produces painful, swollen, and stiff joints, but affects the whole body including a breakdown in the immune system. This type of arthritis is more difficult to treat, but again Osteopathic approaches can relieve the musculo-skeletal symptoms.
Many arthritis sufferers are told that ‘nothing can be done, you just have to live with it’ or ‘pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are the only treatment available’. Osteopathy does not aim to reverse the damage already done to the joints but treatment can certainly ease the pain, reduce swelling, improve the stiffness and restore some joint mobility. As a result of this there is often less reliance on medication and consequently less problems with the inevitable side effects of the drugs, such as gastritis.
Treatment aims to get the best out of the affected areas by improving the mobility of arthritic joints as far as possible. Associated joints and tissues may also require treatment to ensure that they are functioning well enough to take the extra strain and compensate for the damaged joint(s) so maintaining good overall mobility.
In chronic cases it may not be the actual arthritic joint(s) that causes most of the pain. The body often naturally tries to protect the joint by splinting it with muscle spasm and it is the muscles and soft tissues that are the source of the aches and pains. Osteopathic treatment can reduce this excessive muscle tension, ease the pain and improve movement..