It’s not Greek to me – despite the origins of its name being Greek! Osteo=bone; arth=joint; itis=inflammation.
Hopefully after reading this article, osteoarthritis (OA) will no longer be Greek to you either.
OA is a condition that affects the whole joint, including bone, ligaments, cartilage and muscle.
It is a degenerative joint disease and is one of the ten most disabling conditions within developed countries, although it is often referred to as ‘wear and tear’.
Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis can include:
Inflammation of the tissues around the affected joints
Joint cartilage damage – the cartilage should be a smooth gliding surface covering the ends of the bones to allow the joint to move. In OA it becomes thinner and rougher which affects mobility within the joint and results in pain
Additional bony growths occuring around the joint edges as the bones try to aid their mobility. This extra growth alters the joint shape & further limits mobility
Wear of the ligaments and tendons around affected joints will also occur as they are placed under greater stress
OA commonly affects knees, hips, finger & thumb joints, and the big toe joints. It can, however, affect any joint. It is most common in people over the age of 40, but may also develop earlier.
People are predisposed to OA changes if they have sustained previous joint injury. This could be from poor posture and the body’s adaptations to this, or an accumulation of old injuries which can predispose a person to earlier onset of OA changes. A working life involving heavy lifting can impact on the hips, while a lot of kneeling can alter the function of the knees. A significant factor increasing the risk of developing OA is being overweight.
As of 2011-12, it was estimated that 3.3 million Australians were living with some form of arthritis. Over half (55.9%) of all reported cases were classified as OA, with the disease more prevalent in the female population than male (Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey 2011-12).
Osteopathy can help maintain your body’s mobility. We can help with overcoming the symptoms of osteoarthritis through soft tissue massage, manipulation, stretching and exercise advice.
Stay tuned for more information regarding how we can help prevent OA & how we can treat it in the next blog installment.