Feb 07, 2017

Our joints have cartilage that allows the bones to glide over each other. Cartilage also helps absorb the shock of movement. However, if you have osteoarthritis, you might feel joint pain due to cartilage breakdown.

As we age, our joints start to wear down and cause conditions like osteoarthritis. Also, overusing a particular joint throughout your life can eventually lead to pain and restricted movement and flexibility. Worse, your joint can become so worn down even the movements that used to be simple may now take a lot of effort to accomplish.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage becomes thinner and uneven, and over time, perhaps wear out completely. It can involve all the joints of the body but is common in fingers, knees, hips, and the spine.

Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative joint disease, which is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving joint degeneration.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Normally, joints are exposed to a low level of damage. In most cases, your body repairs the damage and you don’t have any symptoms.

But if you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage on the ends of your bones breaks down and bony growths develop as well. Risk factors of osteoarthritis are:

  • Poor loading or weak muscles
  • Joint overuse
  • Obesity
  • Posture
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Previous injury
  • Certain occupations
  • Other types of arthritis such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Medical conditions that affect joint health

Osteoarthritis can be triggered by inactivity, stress, and weather changes.

How Physiotherapy Helps with Osteoarthritis

Physiotherapy provides conservative treatments. These include but are not limited to:

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Exercise prescription
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Support aids/education

Treatment may vary depending on the outcome of your physiotherapist’s assessment of your joint.

Pain is a common symptom of osteoarthritis. Exercises can be effective in managing pain and also improving function. To perform exercises correctly, a physiotherapist will supervise you. Your physiotherapist can also prescribe exercises you can do at home. Some of these can be aerobic walking, quadriceps strengthening, resistance training, and tai chi.

Specific exercises focusing on the strength and stability of an affected joint can help relieve symptoms. Not only exercise is beneficial for your overall health, but it can also be effective in targeting the specific ailments affecting a joint.

A physiotherapist can use manual therapy skills to reduce the amount of muscle tightness and tension that affect an arthritic joint. It can also help reduce swelling as it can flush it back into the lymphatic system. In the past TENS, ultrasound, and other electrotherapy techniques have been applied to address pain and swelling. It can alter the body’s process to inhibit the receptors responsible for stimulating a pain response.

Posture is often associated with behavioural habits. You will be advised about proper posture and biomechanics to avoid unnecessary stress on your joints.

If osteoarthritis gets in your way, physiotherapy can help you keep up with life.

Call Happy Physio today on 92727359 and book an appointment!