With Australia's aging population comes an increase in those who are diagnosed with osteoarthritis. By 2030, it is expected that over 3.1 million Australians will experience some form of osteoarthritis.
But what is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is categorised by the wearing down of cartilage at the ends of bones. This means that over time, the joints and their usability deteriorate to the point that they cause pain, discomfort and lack of mobility. For many people, this means surgery. However, although there is yet to be a cure for osteoarthritis, physiotherapy is able to significantly assist those experiencing it by increasing function and reducing pain for as long as possible.
So how does it work?
Physiotherapy is concerned with exercise, strengthening, weight management and the reduction of stress, all of which can support someone experiencing osteoarthritis.
Exercise is one of the best ways for us to keep our muscles and bones strong and our joints mobile. Though, this doesn't mean that the exercise needs to be vigorous. Simple exercises such as walking and hydrotherapy are the most suitable. Through, some weight-bearing exercises can also help as they stimulate synovial fluid which helps produce nutrition to the cartilage. These exercises may be uncomfortable at first, however, they can have significant benefits.
Strengthening helps to build the stability of joints. In result, this decreases the stress often brought about from mechanical movements and can thereby significantly reduce pain.
Weight Management is especially important, specifically for osteoarthritis affecting the lower limbs. Although physiotherapy does not determine diet programs, the promotion of healthy fitness and well-being can effectively bring about positive weight loss. In result, this takes away pressure from specific joints and can help to alleviate pain.
Reducing Stress can be easily achieved by creating awareness of the activities and body positions that we place ourselves through. The way we perform certain household tasks and leisure activities may be causing us pain and stress. However, if we modify these, or make use of aids where necessary, we may be able to significantly reduce the progression of osteoarthritis.
Our team at Bankstown Physiotherapy is well trained to understand various types of pain and how to treat it. If you are experiencing osteoarthritis, or have any concerns, feel free to book now at 97933119 or visit our website!