Osteoarthritis is a condition affecting the joints. This advice sheet provides general info to help you understand your osteoarthritis treatment plan.
Osteoarthritis is a condition affecting the joints. The tissues around the joints can become inflamed, cartilage can become damaged and bony growths can occur.
Osteoarthritis typically occurs in the over 50s, and women seem to be more vulnerable. However, it can affect younger people who have suffered an injury.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain and stiffness in the joints. It can be helped with lifestyle changes and exercise. A physiotherapist is often able to help, therefore avoiding the need for medicines and/or surgery.
An alternative is painkillers and other medication. Surgery is an option if the pain is incessant or unbearable.
How Will You Be Treated For Osteoarthritis?
When you arrive at the clinic, you will meet your practitioner. Your first session will include a detailed assessment, including questions on your current symptoms, medical history and current lifestyle/fitness.
The practitioner will then assess how your joints are working, and how the problem is affecting your life. They will check your posture, and how you move.
The practitioner may ask you to remove some clothing, so they can assess your joints more easily. It is advisable to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes to your appointment.
Following the assessment, the practitioner will explain the treatment, and together you will discuss your goals and management programme.
Treatment for arthritis can include:
- Advice about exercises to do to help the joints, and encourage and maintain general physical fitness – this is individual for every patient.
- Postural advice, and education to prevent further joint damage and problems.
- Lifestyle advice, including weight management and smoking cessation, pain management, and things to avoid.
- Manual techniques and/or acupuncture, if necessary.
- If appropriate, teaching you to use a walking aid, to help reduce the pain and make walking safer and easier.
What Can You Do To Help Yourself If You Have Osteoarthritis?
- Take any medicines you have been prescribed.
- Wear good shoes that have proper support.
- Squat to pick things up rather than bending over.
- Take things easy! Try not to do all the housework in one go, but do a few smaller jobs each day.
- Take care when climbing the stairs. Go slowly and use the hand rail.
- Take a warm bath or shower to help your body to relax. Be careful getting in and out.