Osteopathy for Arthritis

old couple holding hands

Osteopaths spend a fair amount of time dealing with the pain and suffering caused by arthritis. Many people mistakenly assume that arthritis is untreatable, believing that pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are the only treatment available. However in many cases, osteopathy can help.

What is Arthritis?

Broadly, arthritis may be divided into two types – degenerative and inflammatory. Degenerative or osteoarthritis is the commonest form, and is often attributed to ‘wear and tear’ of the joints. It is usually confined to one or more joints such as the hands, hips, knees or spine. The joints involved become worn, painful, and stiff. This type of arthritis is commonly seen and treated by osteopaths.

Inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease affecting not just the joints but the whole body. Like osteoarthritis it produces severe pain, stiffness and often deformity. This type of arthritis is more difficult to treat, but again osteopathic and nutritional approaches can relieve symptoms of muscle pain and joint stiffness.

Nutritional Therapy for Arthritis?

Arthritis may sometimes respond to a change in your diet. There is a fair amount of information and unfortunately some misinformation about the effects of diet on arthritis. However there are foods which will cause an increase in inflammation and others which may help to dampen it down. If you wish to find out how a change to your diet can help to alleviate the pain of arthritis you can make an appointment with Anna, our nutritionist, and she will assess your diet and make recommendations which are tailored to your needs.

Osteopathic Treatment for Arthritis

Joint wear and tear is normal after the age of 35 and does not necessarily result in pain. Osteopathic treatment can ease the pain, reduce swelling and stiffness and improve joint mobility. As a result, the patient relies less on medication and consequently has fewer problems with drug side-effects.

Osteopathic treatment aims to improve mobility and reduce inflammation by using gentle, manual techniques on joints, muscles and ligaments. 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. The body’s natural response is to protect a damaged joint by using muscles to splint it and in some cases, it may be the muscles which are the source of the aches and pains. Osteopathic treatment can reduce this excessive muscle tension, ease the pain and improve mobility.

Age is no barrier to osteopathy since each patient is considered individually. Your osteopath will also advise you on lifestyle changes which can help to improve the health of your joints. For instance posture, diet and exercise all have an important contribution. You may also be given exercises to do at home to improve joint mobility and reduce muscle spasm.

I asked Sorrel if she could do anything for arthritis in my neck, as my doctor suggested physiotherapy or osteopathy would be better than painkillers as a long-term solution. The problem was made worse by bad posture. Sorrel got it sorted out with a combination of massage, and manipulation, and although arthritis cannot be cured, it’s hoped that the current treatment will stop it getting any worse, or at least slow it down. Certainly, the treatment has reduced the pain considerably.

Ted Baker, 69