Arthritis is a general name which includes different orthopedic conditions; it refers to the inflammatory condition of a joint.

rue inflammatory arthritis refers to pathological conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis; however the term has been popularized and is now commonly used to describe degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or “wear and tear”.

Degenerative arthritis is in fact a mechanical condition, in which a joint is unable to withstand the stress applied to it and with time, will wear down and degenerate

Osteopathy for the Elderly

Osteoarthritis is an inevitable process with aging. As we get older, our body systems loose in vitality and efficacy; resulting in slower and less efficient tissue draining, repairing and growing, leading with time to natural wear and tear. However uneven and increased stress on joints due to biomechanical and posture alterations will precipitate the degeneration of the joint cartilage.

Osteopathic treatment of arthritic joints follows the same holistic philosophy as for any other condition. On a local level, the practitioner will utilize soft tissue techniques on the surrounding muscles and fascia, combined with functional techniques to balance the tensions in the joint capsule and ligaments.

However it is with a more global approach that osteopathy will be most beneficial; by assessing for and treating chronic compensation patterns arising from previous traumas, which have altered the biomechanical function of the musculoskeletal system, osteopathy will aid to reduce the stress forces applied to the joint and thus its deterioration.

Osteopathy however, as any other kind of treatment, is not able to cure and reverse the joint degeneration. It will facilitate blood/venous/lymphatic drainage, joint mobility and muscle relaxation, and remove any excessive stress on the joint. Osteopathy will slow down and reduce further degeneration of the joint and advise patients about simple exercises and life style changes that may transform and improve the quality of their daily lives.

In occasional cases, when surgery is necessary, patients will be referred to a specialist.

Osteoarthritis will thus predominantly affects weight bearing joints; such as knees, hips and the lumbar spine. Due to its great range of movement the cervical spine is also an extremely common site for arthritis of the spine. In fact research has shown that the first signs of degeneration can appear in the neck as early as 25 years of age!

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