Arthritis can usually be described as one of the two most common forms of Arthritis are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
OA is a condition which causes pain and compromises the function of the affected joints as a result of aging and general wear and tear. The smooth cartilage that takes the strain in a normal joint becomes rough, brittle and weak. To compensate, the bone beneath thickens and spreads out, forming knobbly outgrowths (Osteophytes). As OA gets worse, bits of cartilage may break away from the bone, causing the bone ends to rub together and the ligaments to become strained. It is a common misconception that nothing can be done to help the pain and disability caused by OA.
Exercise and hands-on physiotherapy can significantly reduce the pain and disability. Our physiotherapists will devise a specific exercise programme to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the painful joints. "Little and often" low-impact exercise is best for improving the symptoms of patients with OA. A wide variety of hands-on treatments can also significantly improve symptoms. These may include cortisone injections, acupuncture, massage, electrotherapy, joint mobilisation and heat.
RA is a common disease affecting about 1 in 100 people. Three times as many women are affected as men. Most people get fluctuating pain and stiffness that gets worse during flare-ups. Many people find that the condition gives them flu-like symptoms and makes them tired, irritable or depressed.
Controlled rehabilitation exercises are proven to increase muscle strength and decrease patient disability without increasing pain. Acupuncture has been shown to help ease the pain of patients with RA, especially in the hands and knees. Our physiotherapists are experienced in using a combination of exercise and hands-on treatments to relieve the pain associated with RA.
Please contact us for more information or to book an appointment at any one of our occupational health clinics.
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The Independent General Practice