Arthritis – don’t let the cold weather slow you down

The term arthritis means joint inflammation. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthris (OA), which refers to degeneration of the joint surfaces. This degeneration leads to pain, stiffness, weakness, instability and sometimes locking and swelling. The most common joints to be affected are the large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, as well as the spine, hands and feet. OA can be caused by an injury to the joint or from repetitive stress and strain. As the joint surfaces begin to degenerate, they become stiff, painful, inflamed and can sometimes begin to form bony growths called osteophytes. The muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints often become tight and tender and ultimately weak. As the cold weather approaches, sufferers of OA find that their symptoms often increase.

What can we do about OA?:

Well, once the damage is done to the joint, you can’t actually reverse that. But there are a great deal of treatment options to help manage the condition and prevent it from getting significantly worse.

  • Gentle exercise is important to keep the joints moving as freely as possible.
  • Strengthening the muscles around the joint also help to cushion the joint and prevent excessive negative joint movements. With arthritis of the spine, core stability exercises help to stabilise the damaged joints, much like braces and supports do.
  • Hands on physiotherapy techniques are very important for pain relief and optimising the muscle function around the joint. Physio’s use a variety of techniques such as joint mobilisation, muscle releases, acupuncture and electrotherapy to help minimise pain and improve function.
  • Hydrotherapy is another useful treatment technique which allows the joints to be exercised in a warm, relatively weightless environment.
  • Physiotherapists can also advise on appropriate braces or supports to help in more symptomatic cases. If you are suffering with the pain of arthritis, speak to a health professional about what can be done to help with your condition.

Rebecca Steele owns Hinteractive Physio and can be contacted on 5442 5556.

On May 31st, 2012, posted in: Arthritis by

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.