Many people living with arthritis believe that manual therapy (such as that performed by an osteopath) can be very effective in treating their symptoms. Gentle massage, stretching, and joint joints have been shown to help reduce pain and stiffness, helping you perform your daily activities more easily. Research shows that manual therapy, such as osteopathy, can relieve pain, increase flexibility, and improve the quality of life for people with osteoarthritis. This is reflected in NHS guidelines that recommend manual therapy (stretching and manipulation), along with exercise, weight loss and pain relievers to control symptoms.
An osteopath will release muscle tension around the affected joint, improve range of motion, and promote better joint health by promoting blood and lymph flow to and from the area. In addition, an osteopath will work to optimize the function of related areas of the body, to ensure that movement and load are distributed as evenly as possible. Your osteopathic doctor will perform a whole-body evaluation to assess the mobility of your joints, any muscle tension or weakness, your circulation and your nervous system. In addition, expert opinions support that osteopathic manipulative knee treatment is useful in relieving knee pain.
Osteopathy can help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, especially when used in conjunction with relevant exercise, diet and lifestyle advice. Often, people go to an osteopath with their MRI results or x-rays that show “degenerative changes” in one or more of their joints or after being told they have arthritis. Osteopathic manipulative treatment aims to stretch soft tissue, separate tissue adhesions, increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage, decrease edema, improve range of motion, and decrease pain. Your osteopathic professional can also work on your circulation, improve blood flow and promote tissue healing, as well as lymphatic drainage to help with any inflammation that may have occurred.
The holistic nature of osteopathy makes it the ideal treatment for reducing pain, stiffness and anxiety that can be associated with all types of arthritis. Due to the stiffness and lack of flexibility in your joints, the Osteopath will work with you to help mobilize your joints and reduce stiffness, through gentle articulation and mobilization of your joints, soft tissues and indirect techniques. An osteopathic professional will draw up a detailed medical history to understand how arthritis is affecting you and what your goals are for the future. Osteopaths can use a variety of techniques to achieve this, depending on the individual's situation.