What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term for up to 100 different medical conditions that affect the joints and musculoskeletal system. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and inflammation which can often result in damage to the joint cartilage that enables smooth comfortable movement. This can cause pain, weakness and instability impacting on many every day activities that most people take for granted. Although there are numerous types of arthritis three primary conditions, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout, make up 95% of all cases.
Who gets arthritis?
The common perception is that arthritis is a natural progression of life and it is associated with age. We hear our health professionals remind us that we aren't 20 anymore. Most people just accept arthritic changes as part of life. The truth is that in Australia over 62% of all arthritis sufferers are of working age.*
Can arthritis be cured?
In simple terms arthritis can't be 'cured', however research suggests that early intervention can delay the onset of the disease. It is also true that there are many specific strategies to ease, control and manage symptoms at all stages. Medicine has made numerous advances. There are now also excellent dietary and natural supplements as well as specific hands on and exercise treatment options.
Physiotherapy for arthritis
As mentioned many health professionals will tell you there is no cure for arthritis and unfortunately this sometimes leads many people to stop looking for answers. They accept their condition as part of natural aging and choose to put up with it. When looking at techniques and strategies to prevent as well as ease the pain and dysfunction of arthritis it is essential to understand the components of arthritic pain. When specialising in treating these conditions, it must be understood that there are actually two components that cause the pain and suffering associated with arthritis.
1) The first is inflammation of the joint surfaces. When this progresses it damages the smooth cartilage and this can get to the point where 'cure' is not an option.
2) The second component to the pain of arthritis is almost universally overlooked and it is known as myofascial pain or 'muscle pain.' When joints become inflamed they sensitise the muscles around the area and contribute to arthritic pain symptoms.
So when you start to feel arthritic symptoms these two components will always be at play.
The good news is that although arthritis is difficult to cure there are many excellent strategies to tackle the muscle pain in an effective and specific way. You can use hands on as well as exercise and strength techniques to improve and relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It is important that anyone suffering arthritic pain seek professional support to manage symptoms and most importantly be taught strength, exercises as well as individualised self release program around the affected joints. In this way you can be empowered to ease your own pain and slow the progression of arthritis long term.
For more information on how Body Leadership may be able to help your arthritic pain please call 07 3847 8040 or Click Here to book a consultation online.
*Arthritis Australia. (2007). Painful Realities: The economic impact of arthritis in Australia in 2007. Arthritis Australia Reports.