What is Arthritis ?
Arthritis is the name given to a group of conditions that cause inflammation within the joints of our body. This inflammation results in pain and swelling and can lead to damage or destruction of the joint.
There are over 100 forms of arthritis including, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and less common forms such as ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus erythematosus. These conditions account for 90% of all arthritis cases.
Arthritis is a disease which can affect anyone from children to the elderly. 60% of those who are diagnosed with arthritis are between the ages of 15 – 60 years.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy helps by settling pain and inflammation with medical equipment such as ultrasound and interferential and treatment techniques such as soft tissue massage, restoring normal range of motion with muscle stretching and range of motion exercises and stabilising the joint with specific strengthening exercises to prevent or limit further deterioration of the joint due to instability
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of Arthritis and results in degeneration of the smooth cartilage that covers the ends of our bones within the joint. This deterioration of the joint surface results in pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes the joint lining to become inflamed and destruction of the joint occurs as the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks its own cells.. Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating and extremely serious form of arthritis affecting mostly women.
Gout, which affects mostly men involves recurrent episodes of acute arthritis commonly in the joint of the big toe. It is caused by higher than normal levels of uric acid in the blood which crystallize, in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. It is associated with the consumption of certain foods which results in a defect in body chemistry. Gout is an arthritis that can almost always be controlled with medication and changes in diet.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. As a result of inflammation, the bones of the spine fuse together.