Physiotherapy Matters launch week day 5: Arthritis

Physiotherapy Matters launch week day 5: Arthritis

As part of our celebrations to officially launch our new clinical site at Regent Centre, Gosforth, we’re exploring the top 5 common aches, pains and conditions suffered in the UK which we treat here at Physiotherapy Matters. In this blog, we’re exploring arthritis.

Arthritis, one of the most common chronic musculoskeletal disorders, involves damage to the joints. With over 100 forms, arthritis can affect joints all over the body. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which can affect both the larger and smaller joints throughout the body.

Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis, where the body’s own immune system begins to attack the body tissue and joint tissue, resulting in the erosion of the two opposing bones.

What causes arthritis?

Osteoarthritis…

…is caused when the normally smooth cartilage surface softens and becomes pitted and frayed. As the cartilage breaks down, the joint may lose its normal shape.  Although osteoarthritis can be the result of injury, it more commonly develops in people over the age of 50.

Rheumatoid arthritis

…is an “auto-immune” disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy joints and leads to inflammation of the joint lining causing pain and swelling to the joint. This form of arthritis causes damage to the surface of the joint and the underlying bone.

Common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Varied levels of pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Aches around joints
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of flexibility in and around joints
  • Restricted movement

How to treat arthritis…

Although there is no cure for arthritis, treatment options are available to reduce the symptoms and manage the pain. When suffering from arthritis, it is important to stay active as being inactive for long periods of time can do more damage. Depending on the type of arthritis you’re suffering from, the following can be effective treatments:

  • Home exercise programmes
  • Acupuncture
  • Hot or cold compression packs to reduce pain
  • Electrotherapy
  • Manual therapy

Preventing arthritis…

You can’t always prevent arthritis, as some causes such as increasing age or a family history of the condition are unavoidable, but there are some steps you can take to decrease the risk of developing it.

Maintaining a healthy weight is a good way to reduce the risk of arthritis in your knees, as your knees support your body weight, therefore being overweight can take a toll on them. Overweight women are more likely to get osteoarthritis in their knees, so dieting and exercise to bring your weight into a healthier range can help reduce the risk of getting the condition.

Regular exercise is another way to reduce the risk of getting arthritis, as it takes the stress of excess weight off your joints and strengthens the muscles protecting them from wear and tear. Stretching regularly will help to maintain your flexibility and range of motion.

Finally, use the right techniques when sitting, working or lifting to help protect your joints from repetitive strains. Correcting your posture at your desk or lifting heavy objects correctly are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing arthritis further down the line.

Why physiotherapy matters…

Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. Our Senior Physiotherapists are trained healthcare professionals who treat people of all ages, working within guidelines that are based upon the most recent and high quality evidence and research.

Physiotherapy can help you to manage symptoms of arthritis with acupuncture, electrotherapy, strengthening exercises, advice on activity, mobilisation and stretches around the affected joints. These treatments all help to reduce the pressure on joints, improve mobility and in turn reduce the effects of arthritis pain.

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our Senior Physiotherapists to assess your arthritis and devise a treatment plan please call on 0191 285 8701 or email us at info@physiotherapymatters.co.uk for more information.