Osteoarthritis and Exercise.
Our Highett Physio Proves That Osteoarthritis Pain Isn’t ‘Normal’.
Why you don’t have to live with the pain of osteoarthritis and proof it’s not a ‘normal’ sign of ageing.
Physiotherapy and exercise can be your first and best option to combat osteoarthritis pain in the knee, hip, back, ankles, hands and other areas of the body.
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that 1 in 11 people are diagnosed with in Australia (1). The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019), reported that 2.2 million people had the condition in recent years and 3 in 5 of these people were female.
What is Osteoarthritis
Chances are that you have heard of osteoarthritis and know of many people who have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner, doctor or physiotherapist or self diagnosed. This can be great that many people are aware, however there are a lot of misconceptions about the best way to treat this condition. At PhysioAus it’s not only important that we provide you with an accurate diagnosis, unique solutions and sustained results but that we provide you with the education and information to make informed decisions about your health.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition (>6 months duration) characterised by the breakdown of the cartilage (cushioning tissue) within a joint or joints of the body.
Osteoarthritis has no specific cause, however there are some factors that may increase the risk of developing the condition. As mentioned above, being female can predispose you to developing osteoarthritis as well as other genetic factors, excess weight or an increased BMI (body mass index), joint misalignment, past history of a fracture or dislocation in the area, repetitive joint loading such as kneeling, squatting, jumping, running, throwing and typing. Keep in mind that not everyone will develop osteoarthritis and if you do, there are plenty of tools to manage this condition and prevent progression and the symptoms worsening.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary from one person to the next. They can first appear during and after activity and then over time progress to pain or stiffness even during small movements and with rest. All of the symptoms of osteoarthritis can drastically impact on your quality of life and therefore it is important to address this condition as early as possible. However, if you have suffered with the pain of osteoarthritis for some time now, you can still benefit just as much from physiotherapy treatment.
Common symptoms include:
- Stiffness – more common in the morning or when you haven’t moved in a while
- Joint pain associated with movement
- Swelling of the joint
- Reduced range of movement
- Tenderness of the joint to touch
- Muscle weakness
- Joint instability and
- Sounds (clicking, grinding) within the joint.
The Cycle of Osteoarthritis pain
Experiencing pain once, or even a few times can put you at risk of falling into a vicious cycle with your osteoarthritis pain. Experiencing pain can then lead you to ‘rest’ or do less activity, this then leads to weakness and deconditioning which predisposes you to feeling more pain in the joint as it is taking more load and body weight. This then cycles back to the start and repeats itself and often leading to continued worsening of osteoarthritis pain. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
How to break the cycle
Active participation in care and physiotherapy treatment is essential to achieving improved outcomes.
Just by reading this blog post and understanding how the disease works and how you can actively manage the symptoms; you have already improved your outcomes and quality of life.
Your physiotherapist has undergone many years of training and research to understand how the body works and responds to various treatments. Treatments are ever evolving and something that is unique to you. Rather than listening to what may or may not have work for your friend, neighbour or spouse; have an open discussion with your health professionals about the best way to be involved actively with your osteoarthritis management. This is because as a physiotherapist we understand that you may be in different stages of your journey and treatment of your osteoarthritis, making a unique target to meet your specific goals is important.
The benefits of exercises
Often exercise is as effective, if not more effective that surgery in treating osteoarthritis. There is less cost involved with a physiotherapy led exercise groups or home based programs. There is no time out of action or off work involved, unlike a hospital stay. This way you can remain independent and less of a burden on family.
The belief that surgery or a joint replacement is the best way to treat knee osteoarthritis is not always the case and should be considered after a 6-12 months period of physiotherapy management.
Exercise and treatment prescription
Individualised exercise and treatment prescription is the best way to treat osteoarthritis. What this looks like exactly is different for everyone!
Appropriate exercise for osteoarthritis includes strength training, stretching, aerobic and balance programs. Such programs can be undertaken at home or as part of our own PhysioAus rehabilitation groups using pilates and gym equipment.
If any exercises feel uncomfortable, we can manage your program in real time and adjust this as often as needed to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly and that they are appropriate for you. The aim is to start with what is achievable for you, and build up your program slowly over time. Before you know it you will be moving and feeling better. Not only that, people around you will start to notice a difference with how you move, your energy and your overall health and wellbeing.
Our rehabilitation groups run with a physiotherapist who will supervise you in small group class, which are scheduled in daily. A physiotherapist can complete an assessment and recommend the best program for you to complete and the right number of sessions to guide you to overcoming osteoarthritis pain.
How a physiotherapist in Highett can help
If you’re starting to feel a niggle in a joint or are tired of having joint pain associated with osteoarthritis recur, a visit to a physiotherapist in Highett may be in order.
Our experienced physiotherapists can provide physiotherapy for osteoarthritis new and old.
Using our unique AUS system, we’ll prescribe a personalised and individualised treatment plan that includes a wide range of exercises and routines that can:
- Build up load in your joints, cartilage and surrounding muscle tissues
- Restore your normal activities
- Encourage and facilitate recovery and reduce pain
Say goodbye to osteoarthritis pain forever!
Call our Highett physio team today!
We here at Physio AUS are committed to helping you live the most active lifestyle you can, free of pain and mobility problems.
In addition to osteoarthritis specific pains, our experienced physiotherapists in Highett can also look after a range of other musculoskeletal injuries including:
- Elbow and arm pain
- Hand and wrist problems
- Back issues
- Hip pain
- Ankle problems
- Knee and leg issues
- Shoulder pain
- Neck pain and Headaches
We help empower you to enjoy a fuller range of motion and to live a more pain-free life.
Has your doctor recommended physiotherapy to target osteoarthritis pain?
Our doors are open to all who suffer from osteoarthritis pain. Give our experienced physiotherapists in Highett a call today on (03) 9525 6077, or click here to book online.
Ally Horsley is our chief physio at Physio Australia Highett and runs all our group exercise classes.
She helps people with arthritis resolve their pain and achieve amazing results every single day through one-on-one Physio AND group classes.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Osteoarthritis, What is osteoarthritis? – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. [online] Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/osteoarthritis/contents/what-is-osteoarthritis [Accessed 8 Jan. 2020].
2. Olson, R. (2014). Are you taking the right medications for osteoarthritis pain? Part 1. [Blog] Ortho illinois. Available at: https://www.orthoillinois.com/blog/are-you-taking-the-right-medications-for-osteoarthritis-pain-part-1/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020].