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Managing Arthritis Pain

Arthritis comes from the Greek word “arthos” meaning joint and “it is” meaning inflammation. There are different types of arthritis and they each need a different approach to treatment. The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. Nearly half of people over the age of 65 have this variety, related to wear and tear of the cartilage which normally cushions the joint surface. Joints that are commonly affected are the hands, neck, lower back and weight-bearing joints such as the hips and the knees. Heredity and overweight are major contributing factors in the development of this type of arthritis.

Forms of Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body`s immune system attacks the joint lining as if to defend it from injury. This leads to inflammation, tenderness and ultimately wearing away of the joint capsule. Rheumatoid Arthritis can attack any joint at any age, and women are more affected than men. This condition can also affect other organs of the body such as the heart, muscles, blood vessels, nervous system and eyes.

Gout is another very painful form of arthritis that occurs with a build up of excess uric acid in the joint surfaces. A gout attack often follows after eating certain foods like shellfish, dried beans, peas or anchovies. The big toe, ankles, knee, wrist or hands are commonly affected.

There are other forms of arthritis including psoriatic arthritis (form of joint inflammation affecting people with the skin condition, psoriasis. Or Juvenile arthritis, a type of arthritis affecting children and even arthritis affecting the TMJ (jaw joint).

For proper diagnosis of what type of arthritis you may be suffering from, a visit to your GP or a Consultant specialising in arthritic conditions would be advised where appropriate tests can be carried out.

Common Treatment

Each type of Arthritis is handled a little differently, but there are some common treatment choices. Rest, heat, ice, splints, using modified appliances such as bottle openers or handle bar assists and medications such as NSAIDS __ nonsteroidal anti inflammatory medication or prescribed medication used to control the pain and inflammation of the joints.

Corticosteroids are also used but limited to their usage because of possible side effects. Non chemical methods of pain control include the use of a TENS unit which works on the targeted pain areas of your body. Self Massage, gentle massage or Tai`chi movements are also helpful.

Physiotherapy Treatment

The right kind of exercise program is very important since the joint gets it nutrition and lubrication with movement. Attending a Chartered physiotherapist will help you understand what happens to your joints and muscles when you have arthritis. Understanding your arthritis will help you manage its affects.

Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle strength and range of movement in your joints and design an apppropriate program on techniques and exercises so you can keep your joints and muscles working as well as possible.

Pain relieving modalities are also important with the management of arthritis and your physiotherapist can treat you with Manipulative and Electrotherapy techniques as well as targeted Massage, Dry Kneedling and Myofascial  stretching.

For further advise, information or to make an appointment online or over the phone please contact us.