Wellness Osteo

Wellness Osteo

At Wellness Osteo, we are osteopaths who focus on achieving optimal health and wellness, which means treating you and sharing our expertise with you. Read on for the ins and outs of osteopathy.

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Osteoarthritis

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What is Osteoarthritis?


Osteoarthritis is an extremely common joint disease that affects 2.1 million Australians, 50% of those over 60 years of age or 85% of those over 80 years of age

In a healthy joint, cartilage covers the end of each bone, acting like a shock absorber and providing a smooth surface for bones to move over each other. In osteoarthritis, overtime this cartilage breaks down and becomes thin and fragile. This can cause pain, swelling and loss of motion in the joint.
Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the knee, hip, ankle, lower back, neck and your fingers.

What is important to remember is that the changes found with osteoarthritis are a normal part of ageing and do not have to be alarming if managed well. 

 

What causes osteoarthritis?


There are lots of factors that increase your chance of getting osteoarthritis, these can be split into 2 categories.

Primary factors (things you can’t control) such as age and genetics (if your parents have it you are more likely to get it).
Secondary factors (things you can control) such as increased weight and obesity, lack of regular exercise, poor diet, high stress, past injuries and muscle weakness. 

 

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?


Osteoarthritis often affects one joint with symptoms progressing and deteriorating slowly.
Symptoms often include:

  • Pain made worse with too much activity. Pain is then relieved by rest. 
  • Joint stiffness, decreased range of motion and loss of joint function. E.g. getting out of bed or the first few steps after sitting for long periods. 
  • Heat and swelling at the joint.
  • Muscle tightness and wasting. 
  • Crepitus. An audible grinding sound when the joint is moved. 

 

Treatment for osteoarthritis:


As osteoarthritis progresses, pain and stiffness often make people become less active in an attempt to avoid causing more pain. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing you can do for osteoarthritis. This decreased activity can lead to your muscles getting weaker and therefore not providing much support for those affected joints! 

The best treatment for osteoarthritis is:

  • Exercise within pain limits
  • Education
  • Weight control/reduction. 

 

Exercising with osteoarthritis doesn’t have to be exhausting long runs or lifting big weights in the gym. All that is required is 30 minutes everyday of moderate exercise. This could be a walk, a slow jog, home stretching or strengthening exercises, swimming or even riding a bike. One of the best exercises from osteoarthritis is hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is exercise in a pool. Floating while moving means we don’t band our joints together like we do when we run, and if you can get in a heated pool that is even better for your joints!

 

Education on osteoarthritis is important to improve knowledge and confidence in your ability to manage the pain. For example, If you have osteoarthritis and start exercising, you might start to feel pain. The pain may last a while, but it is not dangerous to keep exercising. Tips and tricks to help manage your osteoarthritis will be discussed with you by one of our Osteopaths at Wellness Osteo, and help you achieve a good quality of life. 

 

Weight reduction is also important for lowering pain and improving function. Being overweight double’s a person’s risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, while obesity quadruples the risk. Simply put, the more you weigh, the more pressure is put through your joints and the harder it is to move to help them repair themselves.