Osteopathy and Arthritis


We all age; some patients experience problems sooner than others some have more severe symptoms than others. This is often due to what we have or haven’t done in our working and leisure time.

When patients hear the term ‘arthritis’ or ‘wear and tear’ they assume nothing can be done, that they have to live on painkillers and cope with deteriorating mobility. In fact the common response is you just have to live with it. Osteopaths don’t have the same opinion

Osteopathy cannot reverse the underlying damage/ wear and tear but it can help reduce pain, improve mobility and slow down the continuing wear and tear process.

A lot of the pain is coming from muscle spasm and guarding around the joint and local inflammation, by gently loosening and stretching muscles we reduce the stiffness and regain some of the joint mobility, making tasks like standing up and sitting down easier and hopefully reducing the level of pain and how much pain medication you may need.

Quality of life is about being able to do the things we like without the pain, the answer is not to stop doing the things you enjoy but help your body stay active and look after your joints. ‘ACTIVELY AGING’

If and when a joint replacement is needed care doesn’t have to end there, pre and post surgery treatment can speed up the recovery process, especially when combined with physiotherapy exercises. Using the same principles of helping muscle spasm, guarding and local inflammation and assisting other areas that have had to cope with additional strain from the arthritic joint can also be of huge benefit to patients.

Arthritis is a general term and can divide in to two types:

* Degenerative this is the ‘Osteoarthritis’ the ‘wear and tear’ form of which Osteopathy can be most beneficial

* Inflammatory this is where the body has begun to ‘Attack’ its own joints. It is a group of conditions that affect your immune system it includes:

o Rheumatoid arthritis

o Ankylosing spondylitis

o Psoriatic arthritis

These are treated with drugs under a Rheumatologist. Osteopathy can provide some ease of symptoms but can’t change the underlying conditions.

Useful Links

Arthritis research UK
General Osteopathic Council
Institute of Osteopathy (IO)
Osteopathic Clinic for Children
British School of Osteopathy