Dispelling Some Myths Around a Diagnosis Of Arthritis
Have you been told that you have arthritis? Know someone who has? Or simply want to know a little bit more about Arthritis? Well I breakdown some of the more common myths surrounding Arthritis
Arthritis is a very common condition and affecting a large percentage of the population.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it is, the effects on the person and how to manage/treat it. In this blog I try to outline some of the more prevalent points surrounding Arthritis & what to look out for should you be diagnosed with it
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions presenting to us as physiotherapists. There are in fact over 100 different types of arthritis but the most common and well known are
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Osteoarthritis is a condition that can be classed as degenerative and commonly presents as pain, swelling and stiffness at the joints. In most joints there is a shock absorber between the bones that acts as a cushion when pressure is put through the joint. This is known as cartilage. Over time this can start to wear down and the result can be osteo arthritic change. Weight bearing joints such as hips and knees are the most commonly affected along with smaller joints such as fingers. It is also commonplace in necks and backs, as we get older.
Rheumatoid arthritis presents as pain and swelling at the joints but there is also an inflammatory component. It is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body attacks its own immune system. Classic joints can include visual deformities at the joints.
There is no formal cure for either type of arthritis. There are a lot of mis understandings in the general public about osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and the effects that they actually have. A common misconception when given a diagnosis of arthritis is that the best thing to do is to stop exercise as it will make things worse. This is not the case as we shall outline in more detail below…
Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis can include:
- Medication to help regulate the body's immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Modification of exercise during acute episodes
- Physiotherapy (including hydrotherapy) in non-acute times. This can take the form of massage, joint mobilisation, and a defined exercise programme.
Management of Osteoarthritis can include:
- Physiotherapy incorporating exercise prescription which can help to condition the muscles and thus protect the joint and thus slow the disease progression.
- Exercise. This helps to lubricate the joint. The challenge is find the right level and forms of exercise.
- Topical anti inflammatory gels can play a part in helping to manage some of the symptoms
- Daily supplements containing shellfish such as glucosamine are popular with osteoarthritis sufferers.
- Surgery is sometimes recommended in severe cases.
- Change in diet may prove helpful. Carrying excess weight adds extra stress to the joints.
Our goal here at Pall Mall Physio is to give you the right information to help you manage the symptoms and to keep you as fit and active as possible
If you wish to book in for an appointment please contact us directly through our site here or alternatively you could get in touch with us from one of our social media accounts: