Ageing and Pain
"I don't expect this pain will go away", "I am getting used to this hurting most of the time" are some of the worrying thoughts that cross many of my patients' minds when presenting to the clinic. I often hear phrases like, "well I suppose it's just age isn't it?"
And yes, of course, our bodies are ageing, at age 40 I already have an amount of osteoarthritis (often referred to by GPs as wear and tear) in my joints. But I am not in pain, and neither are many people in their 60's, 70's, 80's and over, many with significant osteoarthritis and indeed other musculoskeletal dysfunction including prolapsed discs and other spinal tissue injuries.
So what can someone with pain, who has been given a diagnosis of wear and tear actually do to relieve their symptoms and work towards becoming pain free?
Of course we osteopaths at The Perrymount Clinic would recommend efficient, researched and well executed musculoskeletal therapy, as we believe it forms the foundation to a healthy, well functioning body. But there are plenty of other things too which improve outcomes to treatment and support the work we do.
Osteoarthritis is a condition affecting the degeneration of the cartilage in our joints, at this stage there is little that can be done to actually heal osteoarthritic joints, so treatment focuses on improving the range of movement at the joint and helping the body compensate for the injury in other ways. Approaches that can reduce the work going through the joint, create a wider surface area of action at the joint and improve the quality of the tissues at the joint can all help relieve symptoms. Osteopathy works in these areas, but other supporting methods we can advise on include increasing hydration and fluid intake, specific stretches improving range of movement in joints and the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin which have had some positive research studies. Some forms of exercise, with advice, can help increase blood supply and nutrition to osteoarthritic joints, and improve range of movement and reduce symptoms.
We have had significant results with hundreds of patients with osteoarthritis, who had started to believe that things could only worsen, and that's why we love what we do. If osteoarthritis is affecting you or one of your relatives the best advice is to get started, the sooner those symptoms are addressed, the sooner life can get back on track.
Written by Sophia Barlow, one of our amazing osteopaths @ The Perrymount Clinic