Osteoarthritis – what actually works?
Osteoarthritis affects over two millions Australians. Unfortunately, the number of sufferers is on the rise for this chronic and painful condition. It is therefore no surprise that there are many different treatments on the market for people seeking relief. Read on for advice on what actually works.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of chronic arthritis. It causes persistent joint pain, stiffness and swelling. It mainly affects hands, knees and hips, often restricting movement. Consequently this makes normal daily activities more difficult.
While people over 55 are more likely to be affected, it is not just a condition of ageing. Likewise, it can affect younger people as well. Risk factors include being overweight or obese and joint injury. Also, overuse from occupations or activities with repetitive movements. Another risk is a family history of the condition.
Managing the condition
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) did an extensive study of the scientific evidence around a wide range of therapies for osteoarthritis. The RACGP announced new guidelines for GPs. They also placed a major emphasis on non-surgical and non-drug treatment options.
- Health fact: Consistent and frequent exercise can improve pain and joint function for people with osteoarthritis.
- Healthy habit: Try low-impact options like walking, muscle-strengthening exercises, water aerobics and Tai-chi.
- Health fact: Excess fat is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis. So maintaining a healthy BMI is strongly recommended.
- Healthy Habit: Along with regular exercise, aim for a balanced and varied diet full of fresh food, especially fruit and vegetables. A Mediterranean-style diet includes fish, poultry and some dairy. It is also low in red meat, processed meats and sugar. It has shown links to decreased pain, disability and depressive symptoms in people with osteoarthritis.
- Health fact: Osteoarthritis supplements are very common. However, there is little evidence to suggest that glucosamine, chondroitin or vitamin D are beneficial to people with osteoarthritis. The RACGP study also failed to find any evidence supporting the use of acupuncture, herbal tablets and oils.
- Healthy habit: Explore different forms of massage and manual therapy like chiropractic, physiotherapy or osteopathy as part of your management plan.
You can reduce the impact on your life with diet and exercise if osteoarthritis affects your life.
The best place to start is with your GP. Once you understand what’s going on with your body, you can help yourself. Above all, start with a plan. Set realistic goals for weight loss and exercise. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Once you have a plan in place, you can make that right choices to give your body the best chance to thrive.
Chiro & Sports Med
Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing a pinched nerve, bulging disc, back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be searching for pain relief after an accident or experiencing injury. You may suffer from a specific condition like chronic back pain or a spinal condition. Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury. We are here to improve your quality of life, your well-being and your ability to live an active healthy lifestyle.