Arthritis – Are You Helping Yourself?
By Robin Adams And The West Country Osteopaths Team
Arthritis is a common cause of disability in the older population. For the purpose of this article, I am
referring to osteoarthritis, but there are, of course, many other forms of disabling arthritis.
Arthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints, which has been found in skeletal remains going
as far back as the ice age.
Typically in arthritic joints, we see some or all of the following.
• Areas of normally smooth cartilage (intended to enable the joints to glide freely) become
pitted and broken.
• Joint fluid may reduce and/or lose it's ability to protect the joint.
• The bone ends may thicken and form bony spurs.
What can you do to help yourself?
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Not always an easy goal, but if you are carrying extra pouinds,
shedding a few may significantly reduce the impact on weight bearing joints.
2. Exercise – swimming, cycling, tai chi etc help to build strength and improve range of motion
around the joints
3. Healthy diet – eating healthily not only helps with weight, but can actually reduce the
amount of inflammation that your body produces.
4. Seek professional advice.
◦ Your GP will help with diagnosis, X-rays/MRI scans, medication etc.
◦ Osteopathy mobilises joints to increase range of movement, whilst helping to reduce
inflammation and encourage rehydration. Osteopathy looks at your whole body and
often helps to overcome structural anomalies that may contribute to the development of
arthritis e.g. having an excessively arched back increases pressure on the facet joints
of the lumbar spine.
I recently treated a lady whose GP had diagnosed osteoarthritis in the neck. Using osteopathy, she
has now benefited from better movement, less pain, and is no longer suffering with the regular
headaches that she had.
In next month's article, we will be talking in more detail about the effect of diet on arthritis.
West Country Osteopaths can be contacted by calling 01392 55111.