Typical Symptoms are joint pain, stiffness and swelling and it mainly effects the hands, spine, hips and knees .
It most frequently affects people aged over 45 although younger people can also be affected .
Risk factors for OA include previous joint injury, being overweight and older age .
As our population ages it is expected that people suffering from OA will rise significantly over the coming years .
There is currently NO cure for this but there are many effective treatments and approaches to managing the long term symptoms of this disease.
Gp’s are often a first port of call for patients and drug management is a common recommendation .We would place a strong focus on self-management and non-surgical intervention as a good starting point for anyone wanting to help themselves combat the effects of OA particularly in the spine , hands hips and knees .
Typically the cold is often commented on as a cause for joint pain. As we are heading into the winter months maybe this is a good time to look in to ways in which you can help yourselves have more control over how your body responds .
Regular exercise is vital for relieving pain and improving function in joints .Water based exercise is fantastic allowing body weight uptake from the water to reduce the load on joints whilst feeling free to move in a supportive environment .If this is not for you then stationary cycling or Yoga are also useful activities to pursue alongside a weight management plan .
Non Drug interventions
Manual therapy to mobilise the joints – Often subtle loss of mobility is a surprise to patients who have not noticed this reduction in flexibility until it is pointed out to them . Joints need to move freely to be pain free and effective , a loss of movement causes unnecessary load on the joint surfaces which can cause wear and tear and progress the development of OA over time .This is escalated after joint injury which is why the younger population should also make sure joint mobility is restored fully and muscles strengthened after trauma .
TOP TIP – don’t just assume a joint will resume normal activity just because you’ve rested it !
Massage can aid in tissue flexibility and in turn can free up the movement in the joints with this new found freedom .It is also great for well-being and chronic muscle and joint pain .
Taping, acupuncture, cold therapy , bracing are all advocated in OA management and can be explored with your physiotherapist.
We treat many clients with OA with very good outcomes , the stiff knee that aches after a walk or on getting up from sitting , the grumbling hip after exercise or the sore neck that feels like you have slept awkwardly every day.
Don’t wait until its so stiff you have no choice but to address it .Catch it early and it takes less time to sort it out .Maintain good joint health and you will cause less trauma to the joints . Physios have two common sayings :
Motion is Lotion
If you don’t use it you’ll lose it !
If you have found this useful , this is just the starting point – if you understand OA you will learn how to manage it, help reduce its progression, reduce the symptoms, manage the flare ups and keep your joints as healthy as they can be for as long as possible .The Physio Action Team are here to help !