It’s incredibly common, but here are 3 things you perhaps didn’t know about Arthritis…
1.) Not all Arthritis is the same
There are actually over 100 different kinds of arthritic conditions, so not everyone with arthritis experiences the same conditions.
Some of the most common include;
A natural part of the ageing process. As the joints experience wear and tear, loose bodies of cartilage may break off and cause irritation and inflammation. In it’s most severe form, osteoarthritis causes a thinning of the cartilage may result in bones rubbing together, leading to pain and deformity.
An autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks cartilage inside the joints, breaking it down. Rheumatoid Arthritis most commonly affects small joints in the body first; including fingers, toes and the upper part of the neck.
Other common types of arthritic diseases include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis or infective arthritis. These conditions are known as primary arthritis, because their symptoms mainly affect a person’s joints.
2.) Osteoarthritis is more common than you think!
This is the most common type of arthritis. Arthritis Research UK shows that as of 2017, 11% of people in the West Midlands have osteoarthritis of the hip, and 18% have osteoarthritis of the knee.
This type of arthritis is most common in the elderly, typically presenting when a person is 50 years of age or older. Because wear and tear is an unavoidable part of the ageing process, most people will encounter some form of osteoarthritis in our lifetime.
Osteoarthritis is most common in weight bearing joints; such as the lower back, hips and knees. It is also relatively common in the joints of the hands. There is an increased risk of osteoarthritis when a joint is stressed, or used inappropriately. This can include carrying excessive body-weight, manual labour, or having weak muscles.
Contrary to common belief, exercise, running and cracking your knuckles have not been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis.
3.) Management might be easier than you think…
Understanding your condition is important to control the pain of osteoarthritis. One study found that patients who were properly educated on the process and management of the condition experienced 20% more pain reduction than those using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) alone. So it really is a case of mind over matter!
Research into the management of musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis have shown that moderate exercise is the best way of reducing pain and maintaining the function of arthritic joints. These exercises should focus on three main goals – to increase muscle strength, to preserve a patient’s range of motion, and to increase where possible their aerobic fitness. There may even be the added benefit of weight loss, another important factor in the management of arthritis; as joints with less weight to bear are typically healthier and under less strain.
If you’d like to find out more about how manual therapy and physiotherapy exercises can reduce your arthritic pain, call to book a consultation with one of our osteopaths.