Do you have arthritis with stiff joints, wear and tear and suffer with daily joint pain? Having arthritis is a common condition that is by far the most common form of joint disease.
Arthritis affects people all over the world and at least 8 million people in the UK.
There are a panacea of modalities to choose from such as exercise to osteopathy and supplements, what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to managing the pain?
If you have ambition to get better and enjoy again things you love, having osteoarthritis should not get in your way. Despite there being no cure, there are lots you can do to slow down the progression, stay mobile and pain free.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition of the bodies joints that causes pain and stiffness in the affected area. It is estimated that more than 10 million people have the condition in the UK. Many think that it only affects older people but arthritis can people of all ages, including children.
There are more than 200 types of arthritis and related conditions. In osteoarthritis (also known as OA) the joints show signs of wear and tear, which increases as time goes by. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the body’s immune system attacks the joints, which can become red and swollen if not treated.
Most types of arthritis have several causes and if it runs in your family, you may be more likely to develop it. However, arthritis can start suddenly, without any obvious cause, at any age.
What Are The Symptoms?
As mentioned above there are lots of different types and so symptoms you will experience may vary on the type you have.
This is why it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis if you have:
- joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- inflammation in and around the joints
- restricted movement of the joints
- warm red skin over the affected joint
- weakness and muscle wasting
Natural Treatments for Arthritis
Keeping active and moving daily with gentle exercise is by far the best way long term. Often times however, osteopathy in the early stages alongside your exercise program may be a good option.
Many patients fear that exercise will make the pain worse which often makes them less active. As a result, this can lead to the muscles that support the joints to become weaker and therefore stiffer.
This can be a vicious cycle that can increase pain and disempower the person to optimal health.
Being overweight can lead to more pressure on joints from a mechanical point of view, this is nothing new. Also, being overweight or even obese can lead to an increased circulation of hormones that create more inflammation in the body.
These “adipocytokine” hormones can actually speed up the rate at which joints break down, even in joints that are not load baring!
For a great nutritional therapist who can help you with this further is Clarissa Nolan who can run functional lab tests to get to the root cause of your problem. Not only is she a wealth of knowledge from a nutritional perspective but also a very experienced nurse with that works in cancer research in York.
You can contact her directly via her page or through the clinic on 01904 788 411.
Diet and Supplements
Even though having a good diet is always advisable for general health. It is especially important for those who have arthritis!
Eating a diet high in processed foods, trans-fats, sugar, alcohol and foods that one may be intolerant too can accelerate the inflammation process.
Eating more Omega 3 foods such as oily fish (wild caught salmon), grass-fed beef, walnuts and flaxseeds are excellent sources. Omega 3 foods are anti-flammatory in nature but the person should concentrate also on eliminating a diet that is highly inflammatory such as eating processed foods, sugar, caffeine and alcohol to name a few.
Many patients I see take a Glucosamine & Chondroitin Complex supplement but the research suggests that it is needed to be taken long term for only small benefits.
Manual Therapy Treatment
I may add that is this a shameless plug but of course osteopathy is an excellent treatment modality for osteoarthritis. Osteopathy can also be used to help manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis too!
Osteopaths are often able to alleviate some of the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Treatment tends to be gentle, specific and helps encourage the healing process by improving mobility, blood flow and calming down the pain messages to the brain. Click for more on the benefits of osteopathy.
Osteopathy for arthritis can include manipulation, mobilization, traction for the neck or lower back, massage therapy and relaxation techniques to help control the pain.
For more information on arthritis you can visit the NHS website