Osteopathy and Arthritis
Osteopathy is a form of hands-on therapy that primarily treats the musculoskeletal (muscular and skeletal) systems of the body. Osteopaths have a detailed and in-depth understanding of how the body moves and functions as a whole unit.
Osteopathy is one of the oldest manipulative therapies originating in America over 135 years ago by its founder A.T. Still.
Within Australia, Osteopathy (commonly referred to as ‘Osteo’), is one of the most popular treatment options for patients, recommended by general practitioners, specialists and by current patients who use Osteopathy, to treat a wide variety of injuries and conditions which include arthritis – both in the elderly, adults and children.
We, Melbourne Osteopaths recognise that there is an inherent link between how your body’s structure and its function work together. We aim to improve the body’s health and well being by treating all aspects of the body – both treating the areas that present with pain, but also where and how the problem may have originated from. We also look at how your other body systems, such as your circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems, relate and can influence your muscle and joint system – which can be very prevalent and widespread in arthritis.
Osteopaths treat all kind of arthritis, in all age groups. Apart from the usual “wear and tear” arthritis in older people (osteoarthritis), Osteopaths may assist with the management of all kinds of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and other auto-immune or inflammatory arthritides for pain relief and joint mobility.
Osteopathic treatment may therefore play an important role in helping manage and control arthritis symptoms which can include:
- Muscle and joint pain,
- Muscle tightness and muscle spasm,
- Joint swelling,
- Joint inflammation
- Restriction of joint movement,
- as well as local and systemic inflammation.
Each osteopathic treatment is tailored specifically for each patient – as each patient may present differently – even though they may suffer with the same type of arthritis.
Techniques osteopaths in Melbourne employ to help their patients with arthritis to restore a more optimal function and decrease pain, can include appropriate:
- Soft Tissue Massage
- Articulation and mobilisation of joints (rhythmic movements at joints to improve movement)
- Muscle Energy Release Technique
- Myofascial (connective tissue) release
- Visceral (Organ) treatment (massage/stretching/releasing)
Another aspect of the treatment of painful conditions such as arthritis, is understanding and managing the neurobiology of pain (in other words, how and why we feel pain.)
In conditions where pain is present for a long time, such as arthritis, our nervous system can become hypersensitive and therefore we are more likely to feel more pain, more often.
As primary health care practitioners, Osteopaths are able to explain this process in easy to understand language, and suggest ways to help to reduce this hypersensitivity of the nerves, spinal cord and brain.
This will often include education of methods of stress relief and management of mental wellbeing, as it has been proven that certain emotions and stress can change the way that our brains make us feel pain.
Osteopaths will also advise upon appropriate physical exercise, which has been proven to be beneficial in most painful conditions.
Osteopaths will work closely with your team of medical practitioners such as GP’s, Rheumatologists, Pain Specialists, Exercise Physiologists or other health practitioners to help with arthritis, as well as help provide advice on exercise, home stretching and movement programs, general lifestyle and health, diet and hydration.