Is arthritis a natural consequence of ageing that will happen to everyone?
Is it normal that my joints will ache later because I played sport as a youngster?
No No No!
There are a lot of myths around arthritis that are simply not true.
Firstly let’s quickly define what we are referring to here.
Did you know there are over 100 medical conditions that fall under the label “arthritis”! In this article we will be referring to the most common which osteoarthritis a “wear and tear” disease associated with degeneration of the cartilage.
The most common symptoms are pain, aching, redness, swelling and loss of function. It can be a chronic dull ache or can be felt as sharp pain that comes and goes. Some people may be aware of stiffness in the joints in the mornings. Others feel clicking, grating and grinding in the joints.
It is a myth that this type of arthritis is some nasty disease that will progressively get worse. In fact- if you are aware of it early- you may be able to reverse it. If you leave it though- it generally does worsen- as you have not changed or improved anything.
What can physio treatment do to help?
Very often the joint is wearing out due to tightness in the surrounding muscles, poor biomechanics, weakness in the muscles around it, bad alignment- think about a car tyre that is poorly aligned- one part of it will wear out more quickly.
The physio will assess the state of the joint, muscle, ligament and nerves (if relevant) and see what is at fault. They will treat the area- perhaps restoring normal joint movement, addressing any knots or tightness in the muscle, showing you some stretching exercise – if relevant or strengthening exercises – if relevant.
We have seen many, many patients avoid operations for joint replacements after getting correct physio treatment.
Also there are many recent studies that demonstrate patients knee arthritis IMPROVE after commencing a cycling programme.
The worst thing you can do is nothing.
If you suspect the worst- do not bury your head on the sand- come in, we will take a look and work with you to design a programme that will either prevent the problem getting worse or ideally improve and reverse it- and YES this does happen
Painkillers will give temporary relief but will not correct the underlying issue- resulting in worsening of the condition over time.