Arthritis  

Arthritis and rheumatic disease are leading causes of pain and disability. Arthritis or osteoarthritis is a common chronic disorder of the joints and mainly affects older people. In healthy joints, cartilage covers the surface of the joint and helps to absorb shock and allows for smooth movement.

In arthritis; the cartilage breaks down, leaving the ends of the bone unprotected and the joint loses its ability to move smoothly. The most common joints affected by arthritis are hips, knees, big toes, spine and hands.

Chiropractic and arthritis

In most cases treatment for osteoarthritis focuses on non-surgical and non-pharmacological care. Chiropractic treatment is considered to be more effective in the long run, it has been suggested that Chiropractic can prevent further arthritic development and regular treatment can even prevent osteoarthritic changes from occurring in the first place. Chiropractic treatment helps by improving overall muscle and joint function and therefore reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Chiropractic treatment for arthritic joints primarily consist of manipulation, mobilisation and passive stretching, and depending on the severity of the condition, patients can generally find an increase in their mobility, improved balance, walking pace and decreased disability after a course of Chiropractic care.

Osteoarthritis doesn’t have to be a life sentence and you don’t have to live in pain. If you suffer from osteoarthritis or starting to feel like you are starting to experience these symptoms and want to find relief for your pain, let one of our chiropractors work with you to develop a care plan to get you back on track. Make the change today.

What can the chiropractor do for my osteoarthritic joint? Because abnormal loading patterns, overuse and the lack of movement in joints all contributes to the formation and the cascade of osteoarthritic joints, Chiropractic treatment aims to target these affected joints and it surroundings to normalise movement and function in the area. Therefore, decreasing pain and improving range in the affected joint.

Chiropractic management will generally include passive (ones you will receive in the consultation) and active (the ones we will get you to perform at home) therapies.

Massage can help arthritis

Massage can be beneficial for almost anyone at relieving muscle tension and stress. But it can also be used as a regular part of managing chronic conditions including arthritis. Massage works to counter the stiff and painful experience of living with arthritis. Like many of our patients who suffer this, a regular massage can alleviate arthritic pain, improve joint mobility and promote relaxation. One of our patients of 92 years of age claims that since receiving massages once a month, had had relief of her arthritic symptoms. It is important to note that a massage will not reduce the chronic inflammation or joint damaged caused by arthritis. For massages to be effective, it is vital to receive them regularly as maintenance.

While some studies show that massage can reduce pain and anxiety for people with arthritis, how exactly does massage make these results happen? Research has shown that massage can lower the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improve sleep as a result.

In 2010, researchers in the USA looking at  healthy adults receiving just one Swedish massage therapy session and found that the participants’ levels of key hormones and white blood cells were positively affected. For example,  a hormone which may lower blood pressure, was decreased, along with some inflammatory cytokines were reduced by massage.

At Health plus Chiropractic we offer remedial and hot stone massage that can help with your overall well-being. Hot stone massage is an effective way to relax both body and mind. But did you know that it is one of the best treatments for arthritis? The warm nurturing heat of the stones provides deep relaxation soothing the nervous system melting the effects of stress and tight muscles. Muscle tension eases under the smooth pressure of the stones allowing circulation to increase, so toxins are flushed away and the flow of healing nutrients is restored to muscles and other tissues in the body, further aiding in release of tension and pain associated with arthritis.

The treatment is not just for people suffering arthritis.  Athletes find it helps muscles recuperate after a strenuous work out. It also helps sinus pain and discomfort associated with premenstrual symptoms. Why not try a hot stone massage and feel the benefits for yourself.

The Podiatry Considerations to Arthritis 

With one foot alone having 28 bones with 30 joints and in addition with the knee joint, osteoarthritis can affect the lower limb significantly. Symptoms that can occur in the joints of the lower limb is tenderness, pain, stiffness or swelling in the joint and can lead to a reduction in a person’s level of mobility in how they walk and bear weight. Ultimately, affecting a person’s overall quality of life.

Your podiatrist’s treatment goals will be to assist in minimizing and managing the progression of joint degeneration through conservative treatment as to avoid surgical involvement. Podiatric treatment for osteoarthritis may range from orthotic therapy to assist in supporting the foot and ankle as well to correct biomechanical abnormalities that may be the causative factor in a misalignment of the joint. This may also include providing custom made footwear or padding for footwear adjustments. Your podiatrist can also direct you in the right direction for physical therapy as to strengthen muscles to assist with misaligned joints due to muscle imbalance as well as to reduce pain as arthritic joints that are not utilized often may increase joint stiffness and ultimately lead to increased arthritic pain.

Osteoarthritis in the joints can also significantly alter the shape of the foot. Common arthritic changes to foot result in deformity of the shape of the foot, such as Hallux Valgus Abduction, often known as a “bunion” or clawing of the digits, which can lead to other complications such as dermatological alterations where callus or corn formation can develop. Your podiatrists can assist with the management of the dermatological changes through general foot care treatment as well as forementioned through redistributing and supporting of pressures through custom made orthotics. Therefore footwear fit is significantly important as to prevent pressure injuries from occurring as well as maintaining foot health and comfortability for a person suffering with osteoarthritis.

Exercise as Medicine for Arthritis

While many health professionals can generally diagnose osteoarthritis (OA) and treat it on the basis of reported symptoms or physical examination of the joint; exercise physiology focuses on managing the condition by increasing muscle, reducing pain, improving joint range of motion and physical function.

Many types of exercise are beneficial for people with OA. By seeing an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and getting a comprehensive assessment, you can be assured to be getting the right choice of exercise according to your age, functional ability, other health conditions and personal preference. Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy and can easily incorporate into your daily life. Strength (resistance) training and/or aerobic exercise are recommended forms of exercise.

How does exercise help?

All clinical guidelines recommend exercise to manage OA. Considerable research shows that exercise benefits people with a wide range of disease severities, including people with severe pain or changes seen on X-ray. Overall, exercise is as effective in relieving symptoms as are pain medications and anti- inflammatory drugs. However, exercise is safer and has fewer side effects.

Exercise can help to:reduce pain;  increase muscle strength;  improve the range of joint motion; improve balance; prevent de-conditioning (loss of fitness and muscle wasting) improve physical function; improve wellbeing.

For strength training, we are focusing on the thigh, hip and calf muscles which are important for daily function and are often weak in people with OA. Resistance can be applied with weights, elastic tubing or body weight.

Strength training can be performed at home or at the gym. The thigh, hip and calf muscles, which are important for daily function, are often weak in people with OA. Resistance can be applied with weights, elastic tubing or body weight.

Aerobic exercise can be performed by yourself, with a friend or as part of a group. Activities may include walking, cycling, or using a rowing machine or a seated stepper. High-impact exercises, such as jogging, place high loads on joints and therefore should be avoided.

Aquatic (water) exercise can be done individually or in a class or group. People who are overweight or those with severe disease may find aquatic exercise particularly useful. The water buoyancy minimises the load on the joints and reduces pain on weight-bearing. Water exercise can be useful before progressing to land-based exercise.

Other types of beneficial exercise include tai chi, balance exercises, and stretching to improve the range of joint motion and flexibility.