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dh osteopathy - Tips, myths and more.

 

Do you have to “put up with”arthritis and spondylosis?

I have treated many people who believe that they have to live with osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear”as it is often called. They can't rejuvenate their worn joints this is true but often there are actions that can be taken to relieve the symptoms.

There is often a poor correlation between structural changes in joints and symptoms. In other words, just because a joint has evidence of “wear and tear”this does not always mean that it will produce symptoms. I have treated people with xray evidence of severe joint wear who have presented with a mild ache or stiffness and others who have had minor wear that have been in “agony”. Why?

Our bodies are great at adjusting for and compensating for those parts that are less than perfect whether this has been from birth, from development, from injury or from aging. Sometimes the compensation efforts are challenged. This may be through doing too much of an unaccustomed exercise like a mad weekend of gardening or decorating. It may be the opposite; not being active enough or it could be triggered by other, less obvious factors like stress and meither.

In the case of our body's coping with osteoarthritis the two main ingredients for maintaining the best function are mobility and muscular support. This may seem obvious but with patients producing symptoms related to joint wear I regularly find that osteopathic treatment can often help by easing off muscular tension around the affected joints, improving movement in these joints and related joints, followed by exercises to encourage the patient to not only use the joints but to strengthen the muscles that act on them.

All too often I find patients take the term “wear and tear” to mean that their condition is a result of overuse and therefore should try to minimise use of the joint. This is a misleading term and I once read it might be better described as wear and repair which is more representative of the body's efforts. Either way, the joint will best be served by use rather than being mothballed. How much use is the balance that has to be experimented with; doing too much all in one go will normally make the joints sore so some trial and error is sometimes involved to find your limits.

In my experience, most people with joint aches and stiffness from osteoarthritis can be helped with physical therapy so if you are one of those people that have been led to believe that you just have to put up with it, think again and perhaps consider seeking some advice from an osteopath or physiotherapist local to you. As a general rule most patients with aches and pains from osteoarthritis will be feeling some relief of symptoms within 4 to 5 sessions to the point where they can either space their treatment out or self manage.

Dave Heath

 

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