The word arthritis means inflammation of a joint. There are many different types of arthritis of which the most common are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (Rh.A or RA). OA usually affects the larger weight bearing joints like the spine, hips, knees etc., but can be found in smaller joints such as the ends of the fingers, wrists, toes, or even the jaw.
It is important that the distinction between these two conditions is fully understood, as the treatment and prognosis for each are very different. Painkillers are not the only solution to the aches and pains associated with arthritis. For longer lasting relief it is necessary to treat the underlying causes of pain, a job for which the osteopath is specifically trained. Osteopathic treatment is aimed at improving the range of pain free movement. In many cases tight muscles surrounding the affected joint exacerbate the pain. Easing this tightness can substantially relieve the discomfort.
Another aim of treatment is to strengthen the muscles around the joint so as to afford better support for the future and, with other exercises to maintain the mobility levels, reduce the rate of further degeneration.
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