Arthritic pain can be caused by the most common form of arthritis: osteoarthritis. However it can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, or other less common forms.
Different Types of Arthritis
The most common cause of arthritic pain is osteoarthritis (OA). This is the form that people often simply refer to as “arthritis”. Unlike other forms, it is not considered an autoimmune condition, and is instead associated with the demand placed on a joint over time. An old injury that led to increased work for a joint, for example, could be a factor in developing OA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is quite different to OA. Whereas OA typically starts in patients over 40, RA often starts in the 30s. It may follow a traumatic event, whether physically or emotionally traumatic. The small joints are often affected first, such as the hands, feet, and neck. There is some overlap here, as OA may manifest in the hands and spine first too, but when the hip and knee are affected it’s less likely to be the start of RA.
There are other forms of arthritis in the same family as RA. Roughly 10% of people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, which is not necessarily isolated to the areas affected by the skin condition. We also need to be aware of lower back pain that is not what it seems: Ankylosing Spondylitis causes pain and stiffness in the lower back with symptoms beginning in the under 40s. Diagnosis takes an average of 8 years, and early intervention with medication is key to improving quality of life.
Diagnosing Arthritic Pain
Your case history is the first step in working out the exact cause of your pain. The circumstances under which it started and which joints are affected are important pieces of information. We will ask what makes your symptoms better or worse- good response to ice or anti-inflammatory medication suggests that there is inflammation present, which is more significant in autoimmune form of arthritis.
Sometimes patients present with what they think is arthritic pain, but may actually be an injury or soft tissue problem. In your first appointment we will gather all the necessary information to provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Osteopathy for Arthritic Pain
Your osteopath is qualified to help you with your arthritic pain. Although we cannot cure autoimmune conditions, we can help with longer term management of these conditions. For osteoarthritis, we may be able to positively affect the condition itself, not just the symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects cartilage within a joint. Cartilage has a poor blood supply, so relies on the fluid within the joint to bring in its nutrients and take away its waste. You can think of the cartilage as a washing-up sponge: squeezing and releasing the sponge will help clean it out and allow it to absorb fresh water. If you start to lose joint movement, some of the cartilage won’t get the squeeze and release, so it begins to deteriorate. Your osteopath can help you regain that movement so your body can start to get on top of the cartilage health again.
A combination of movement and massage during the appointment, paired with personalised exercises form the typical plan. We can also see if there’s another problem elsewhere that’s encouraged the original loss of movement, or look for secondary areas affected by changes in the joint.
Make an appointment for your arthritic pain: call us on 077 7593 1609