Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process that results in a deterioration of the joints. It usually affects people in their sixties and seventies, but can also affect people much younger. People with osteoarthritis experience pain and stiffness in the joints which are especially noticeable in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time. Other symptoms may include swelling, redness or a feeling of heat right at the joint. The most commonly affected joints are the knees, hips, hands, neck and back.
Usually anti-inflammatory medication will be prescribed by your Doctor to reduce inflammation and pain and in some cases, surgery of the hip or knee may be recommended. The first line of defence should, however, be Physiotherapy. We can help to reduce the effects of the disease through carefully designed exercise procedures, acupuncture, and through the use of electrical therapies which can reduce inflammation and pain. Many people are able to find enough relief to reduce or even eliminate the need for strong anti-inflammatory drugs.
Surgery can involve a complete or partial joint replacement but could also involve other more minor procedures. You should discuss these options with your Physician and your Physiotherapist. Osteoarthritis has a secondary effect on the muscles surrounding the affected joints, causing them to weaken and shorten. While surgery can replace the joint, it doesn’t replace the muscles which may also be affected through lack of use or improper use.
If you do decide to have surgery, we can help you strengthen your muscles around the joint before your surgery which will speed the recovery time after the surgery and could even delay the need for surgery. Your Physiotherapist is also uniquely trained to speed your recovery after your surgery.
We can provide treatments which can help you to decrease your pain and stiffness and return to independence and an active lifestyle.