How to Manage Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of many forms of arthritis often diagnosed with age. It frequently presents in the neck, low back, hips, knees, and hands. When osteoarthritis occurs in the neck and low back, it is often referred to as ‘degenerative disc disease’.
With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to breakdown and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can reduce function and increase disability resulting in loss of daily tasks or activities. Arthritis can be miserable and debilitating.
Here’s the Good News!
There are substantial high-quality research articles supporting patients with OA benefiting from physiotherapy. Physiopedia states ‘Physiotherapy is important part of OA management and will be instrumental in teaching people to: properly use joints; exercise correctly in both motion and flexibility exercises as well as cardiovascular exercises, recommend assistive devices, recommend use of modalities.’
It’s like finances, if you ‘invest’ in properly rehabbing your arthritic joint, this can ‘pay dividends’ down the road and you can reap the benefits such as preventing surgery, increasing your quality of life, and reducing the amount of pain medication.
The American Journal of Neuroradiology (2014) demonstrated that by the time someone reaches their mid-60’s they are 85-90% more likely to have degenerative disc disease. In their 80’s, people are nearly 100% guaranteed to have OA. However, the interesting aspect about this article was that these arthritic individuals had no pain. The significance of this article summarizes that it is only a matter of time before we all have OA, but that does not mean we all have to live with pain in our knees, low back, or necks. Sometimes we do need to opt for surgery or medications, but research overwhelmingly supports conservative management like physiotherapy. For most conditions, physical therapies should be your first line of defense against OA symptoms.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Pain: can be present at rest or with movement of the joint
- Tenderness: may be tender with touch
- Stiffness of the joints: difficult to move the joint(s) after being inactive
- Swelling: inflammation of a joint, could also feel warm to the touch
- Decreased range of motion: reduced flexibility in movements
- Grinding Sensation: with the bending and straightening of the joint(s)
- Unusual sounds: clicks, pops, and crackles sounds called crepitus
How can the physiotherapy, athletic therapy, and chiropractic services at Max Health?
- Provide evidence-based arthritic education to better understand your condition.
- Reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
- Improve mobility and restore the functional use of affected joints.
- Increase strength to support the joints affected.
- Maintain fitness to prevent other health concerns.
- Education on how to avoid further pain and prevent future episodes.
- Your therapy plan will be based on your specific goals.
At Max Health, your physiotherapist, athletic therapist, or chiropractor may include the following in your treatment plan:
- Educate you on proper posture and body mechanics to relieve pain and improve function.
- Provide hands-on manual therapy.
- Give you a customized therapeutic home exercise program.
- Perform acupuncture or dry needling.
- Utilize modalities as needed such as IFC to reduce pain.
- Suggest massage therapy which can be effective in increasing blood flow, reducing soft tissue adhesions, and relieving acute or chronic inflammation.
Osteoarthritis is a normal process of aging, but the pain should only be temporary. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. If you have been experiencing pain or stiffness with osteoarthritis, give Max Health services a try! Max Health is passionate about improving quality of life, staying active, and empowering our clients.
YOUR HEALTH. OUR PRIORITY!