Here we are talking about osteoarthritis, which usually presents as a normal degenerative joint condition as opposed to inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, which are illnesses.
Generally, some degree of osteoarthritis is a normal consequence to getting older or having had past accidental damage to a part of the body. However, some people suffer much worse than others. Mild arthritis might just cause a little stiffness while severe cases can be totally debilitating involving severe chronic pain, inflammation, sciatica, trapped nerves, muscle spasm and tendinitis.
As the soft tissues start to degenerate, the bones gradually ‘over-grow’ to stabilize the joint. These overgrowths unfortunately cause more harm than good, impinging other structures and causing irritation. Also the cartilage lining of the joint starts to degenerate and little chips sometimes come free and float around the joint causing inflammation.
The most common sites for arthritis are the lower back, the hips, the knees, the hands and the neck although in theory any joint can be affected. The causes include getting older, past accidents, past slipped disk, poor posture, excess weight and genetic factors.
- Pain, often sharp or burning
- Inflammation and swelling around joint
- Sciatica: pain down the legs
- Muscle spasm
- Locking and giving way (knees)
- Palpable bony growths (hands)
- Inability to point toes inwards (hip)
- Pain standing and walking (back, hip and knee)
Arthritic pain requires a careful and expert diagnosis by a trained professional. We see many cases of this kind of pain in clinic and in many cases treatment can soothe the pain and reduce the inflammation.
Unfortunately the damage cannot be reversed but gentle techniques along with mobilising, stretching and strengthening can restore function and decrease pain and immobility. Please call to talk to a trained professional if you want to know more.