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National Arthritis Week 9-16th October 2017

It is National Arthritis Week – and Arthritis Research are talking about the “Nation’s Joint Problem”. 10,000,000 adults are affected by arthritis in the UK.[1] Arthritis is often a hidden condition for which there is no cure.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis means that there is inflammation in one or more joints. However not all inflammation is bad, it is the body’s way of healing itself, so if you sprain an ankle, or cut yourself, you will experience inflammation. Blood will rush to the area causing it to become swollen, red, warmer and painful, as the natural products of inflammation do their job.

There are forms of inflammation associated with arthritis which can cause problems. Pain, stiffness, and damage to the joints are all considered part of Arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis

This can occur for no obvious reason, these are autoimmune conditions (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis) in which body attacks its own joints, damaging them. It often affects several joints, as well as tendons and ligaments around the joint. Inflammatory arthritis is often accompanied by systemic illnesses as well.

Degenerative Arthritis

This is mainly a mechanical arthritis, where the cartilage in the joint is damaged resulting in a cascade of changes in the joint causing pain, stiffness and a change in the shape of the joint. As we age Osteoarthritis becomes more common and tends to affect joints which are more heavily used, or where there has been an injury in the past.

It is not uncommon for all of us to have some arthritic changes,

“8.75 million people aged 45 and over in the UK have sought treatment or osteoarthritis” [2](www.arthritisresearchuk.org, 2017)

Osteopathy & Arthritis

Whilst there is no cure for arthritis, Osteopaths treat the aches and pains associated with it daily. We can relieve muscle tension, improve joint mobility and help to increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage.

We use gentle osteopathic techniques such as joint articulation, and mobilisation, soft tissue massage and stretching. We will also consider the impact that the arthritis is having on the rest of your body, and will ensure that your body is able to function and compensate for the arthritic changes.

We will also advise you on the best exercises to help you in everyday life, and to keep you active.

[1]www.arthritisresearchuk.org. (2017). [Online]

[2] www.arthritisresearchuk.org. (2017). State of Musculoskeletal Health 2017. [online] Available at: https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/data-and-statistics/state-of-musculoskeletal-health.aspx [Accessed 9 Oct. 2017].