Arthritis and staying Active

Here at Southside Clinic we understand that retirement can bring time for leisure, travel opportunities and interests to the older person. This is the chance to take up those sports and activities that you never had time for whilst working and bringing up your family, e.g. golf, gardening, Kayaking, fitness classes etc. The body, however, has changed. It has lost some of its elasticity and ability to adapt. It has also experienced injuries and postural stress during those years, often resulting in repetitive strain injuries, stiffness and degenerative changes.

The effects of ageing on the body can cause symptoms such as:

  • poor balance
  • general stiffness
  • back, neck and arm pain
  • hip and knee pain and stiffness
  • arthritis and joint swelling
  • high blood pressure.

Keeping healthy

Osteopathic treatment can go a long way towards relieving these distressing conditions. If surgery is also required, the post operative recovery period can be prolonged and painful. Osteopathy can be extremely helpful during the recuperation period.

Osteopathy’s safe, gentle and effective techniques aim to maintain your health, increase mobility, improve balance, prevent further joint wear and tear, and help keep you active and independent.

Many older Australians mistakenly believe that the effect of ageing on their body’s joints is untreatable and inevitable, and they have no alternative but to learn to live a lesser life with their pain.

Keeping mobile is the key to your health, happiness and independence. Osteopaths can offer treatment and advice to help harness your body’s natural healing systems— improving mobility, circulation and balance, reducing joint stiffness and helping you lead a more fulfilling life. In patients with ARTHRITIS, exercise reduces pain, inflammation, muscle weakness and fatigue, and it can help the patient regain range of motion. It may also slow progression of the disease and your Osteopath at Southside can work with you to develop an exercise programme aimed at increasing your flexibility and range of motion (adapted Brukner & Khan 2012).

Osteopathy can help greatly during this time. An osteopath will take a full case history so they can understand how the body has been affected so far. Then, after a full examination and assessment the osteopath will be able to offer treatment and advice to help improve mobility, circulation and immune function, and reduce joint stiffness so that the older person can enjoy a full and active life in retirement.

The treatment is usually gentle and aims to maintain health and prevent further injury. Dietary advice may also be given to help maintain healthy bones and joints.

Arthritis and staying Active

Osteopaths at Southside will work with other healthcare practitioners to ensure a holistic approach to your health care.

Remember

  • Gentle stretching daily to help maintain tissue elasticity and joint mobility
  • Walk as much as possible to keep circulation healthy and maintain muscle tone, walking 30 minutes a day and aiming to get slightly out of breath will not harm you
  • Have a daily rest to recover energy for the rest of the day’s activities
  • The use of trainers or similar footwear can help to reduce wear and tear to the knee and hip joints, and can also help reduce back pain when walking on hard pavements

 

Written: April 2013

References:
British Osteopathic Association (BOA): http://www.osteopathy.org/as-you-get-older Brukner, P & Khan,K 2012, Clinical Sports Medicine. McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

Australian Osteopathic Association (AOA): http://www.osteopathy.org.au/pages/ seniors.html