There are different types of arthritis that present in different areas of the body. Different types of arthritis can affect people at different stages of life. For an exhaustive list see the arthritis foundation at http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/
The most common types of arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Juvenile arthritis
- Systemic lupus
For simplicity, we will compare the 2 most common arthritities that present to our clinic. (See Figure 1)
In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. As OA worsens over time, bones may break down and develop growths called spurs. Bits of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. In the body, an inflammatory process occurs and cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop that further damage the cartilage. In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone leading to joint damage and more pain.
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints (the synovium) to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints. The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly.
Joint damage cannot be reversed, and because it can occur early, doctors recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to control RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. The joint effect is usually symmetrical. That means if one knee or hand if affected, usually the other one is, too. Because RA also can affect body systems, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems, it is called a systemic disease. Systemic means “entire body.”
How can Osteopathy help my arthritis?
At Moreland Osteopathy we may be able assist your arthritic symptoms via:
- Working on the surrounding muscles to reduce stiffness and soreness.
- Improving lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling. - Gently moving and stretching the arthritic joint to encourage better fluid movement. - Providing advice on ways to reduce inflammation.
Upon your first consultation at Moreland Osteopathy, we take an elaborate medical history, do our necessary orthopedic examination and assessment to see the severity of your arthritis. Any red flags will be ruled out during your history taking and questioning with the Osteopath.
Osteopathy may help your arthritic aches and pains through hands on manual therapy techniques, conservative management advise, also if needed, dry needling, cupping, exercise/ stretching prescription to strengthen your spine. Some manual therapy techniques we use to assist in the management of arthritis are: Gentle Massage, trigger point release, articulation and manipulation of joints, muscle energy technique, inhibition and many more. We use these techniques in order to give your body a chance to take charge, and help itself. Some effects of Osteopathy are to increase blood flow to your injured site, therefore decreasing pain levels and increasing your healing rate.
Every treatment is tailored to you so if you prefer or respond better to certain techniques then we will take that into account. We have excellent bedside manner and aim to make you feel comfortable at all times.