Osteoarthritis Prevention and Management

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. In the UK more than 10 million adults see their GP each year with arthritis and related conditions. More than 1 in 3 of the over 50’s have joint pain that interferes with their normal activities – and it can get worse as you get older!

The most commonly affected joints are the knees, hips and small joints of the hands. OA occurs with normal wear of our body, which is why it happens mainly as we get older. Injury and overuse (including being overweight) can accelerate the process and therefore affect us at a younger age. Inactivity can also make things worse as the muscles get stiffer and weaker around the joints.

The good news is that we can do lots to prevent and keep things going so arthritis doesn’t stop us doing what we want to do, and we can start now. There’s no excuse even if you already have arthritis. Here’s your action plan.

Exercise and hot and cold therapy for Arthritis

Yes again it comes up, even little and often is better than doing nothing. Do something for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. If you cannot do the full 30 minutes try doing 10 minutes three times in the day.

It should include exercise for general aerobic fitness and local muscle strengthening. As well as helping weight loss, (which will reduce the load on the joints and help to improve pain) exercise itself will help to build muscle strength and endurance and can lead to reduced pain and improved joint function.

If you don’t use it, you may lose it – so keep your joints moving and your muscles strong. And remember it’s never too late to start keeping yourself fit!

If the joint is swollen and very painful put cold on it (e.g. bag of peas wrapped in tea towel) for no longer than 15 minutes, and repeat the cold again once the area has warmed up as many times as you wish.

For joints that are just a bit stiff and slightly achy then try putting something warm on the joint.

Osteopathy and acupuncture have been proven to help arthritis.

Patients who come for regular maintenance therapy (or an MOT as one of the patients describe it!) once every month or couple of months have found it made a big difference. They have fewer days when they have pain and stiffness and can reduce or stop the painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines they need to take.

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