Osteopathy and Arthritis

Retired man with his walking stickArthritis affects approximately 4.6 million Canadians over 15 years of age, with the most common forms being osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Arthritis causes joints to become stiff, painful, fragile and less flexible. The stiffness, lack of mobility and decreased flexibility that occurs from arthritis alters the way the body is moving as a whole, placing stress on the muscles, ligaments and joints surrounding the arthritic area.

The hands on approach of osteopathy aims to decrease the level of pain associated with arthritis by improving joint mobility, circulation, lymphatic and nervous function. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners have a variety of techniques they may use to achieve this, including:

• Soft tissue massage to increase blood flow to the joints
• Gentle articulation and mobilisation of the joints
• Ligament and tissue balancing techniques
• Assessment and treatment of mechanical issues that may be contributing to wear and tear

What is osteoarthritis?

OA is a degenerative arthritis that affects joints that have been stressed for long periods or have previously sustained an injury. The joint cartilage degenerates, leaving the boney surfaces exposed and creating bone on bone movement. OA can affect a single joint or multiple joints in different regions of the body. Over 10% of Canadians suffer from OA and it is the cause of over 80% of hip replacements and more than 90% of knee replacements. Source: Canadian Arthritis Society

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

RA is an immune-mediated inflammatory arthritis where the immune system starts to attack the joint surfaces and surrounding tissues. This abnormal immune response leads to joint damage, swelling, pain, stiffness and deformity. Rheumatoid Arthritis, along with other inflammatory arthritis’, is an autoimmune condition that affects multiple joints and can sometimes result in damage to organs and other tissues. Source: Canadian Arthritis Society