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• Up to 40% of people over 70 suffer osteoarthritis of the knee.
• Almost 80% of patients with osteoarthritis have some degree of limitation of movement and 25% cannot perform their major daily activities of life.
• Rheumatoid arthritis is estimated to affect 165 million people.
Source and for further information please go to:
What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are quite different diseases. Whereas osteoarthritis rarely occurs before the age of 40, many people develop rheumatoid arthritis in their 20s or 30s. Many joints are involved – the synovium is badly inflamed and this damages all the tissues in the joint. The affected joints are painful, often very stiff, and appear warm, tender and swollen with fluid (not with extra bone growth). Blood tests show widespread inflammation that affects the body generally, often causing anaemia, weight loss and tiredness. X-rays show that the bones are thin and eroded, rather than the bony spurs and calcification that show up in osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints. It is the
most common type of arthritis in the UK, with an estimated 8.5 million
people affected by the condition.Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred
to as 'wear and tear' arthritis.
There are three characteristics of osteoarthritis:
• causes damage to cartilage - the strong, smooth surface that lines the bones and allows joints to move easily and without friction,
• results in bony growths developing around the edge of the joints, and
• causes mild inflammation of the tissues around the joints (synovitis).
Osteoarthritis mostly occurs in the knees, hips, and small joints of the hands. However, almost any joint can be affected.
Who develops osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, and it is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true.
Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis; in some cases, as a result of an injury, or another medical joint condition.
Source and for further information please go to: http://www.arc.org.uk/arthinfo/
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) tend to develop gradually, with the first symptoms often being felt in small joints, such as your fingers and toes.The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often tend to come and go, and you will experience what are known as 'flare ups'. This means that from time to time, your condition will worsen and your symptoms will be more intense and severe. You can experience a flare-up at any time of the day or night. However, it is likely that your symptoms will be more painful in the morning, when you first wake up. Usually, your symptoms will begin to ease as the day progresses, as you start using and flexing your joints.
Once rheumatoid arthritis progresses, it can spread to other joints, such as your shoulders, elbows, hips and jaw. The condition tends to affect several joints at the same time, usually on both sides of your body. For example, it often affects both knees or both hands.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are outlined below:
• Joint pain and swelling - this is usually worst in the morning and tends to improve as you move around.
• Joint stiffness - again this often improves once you start moving around.
• Warmth and redness - the lining of the affected joint becomes inflamed, leaving the skin over the joint warm, red and swollen.
• Loss of appetite.
• Generally feeling unwell.
• Skin nodules - one in four people with rheumatoid arthritis develop lumps under their skin, known as rheumatoid nodules. These commonly occur on the skin over the elbows, and forearms, and are usually painless.
• Anaemia -is a condition where the blood is unable to carry enough oxygen, due to a low number of red blood cells. It often leaves you feeling tired and lethargic. Eight out of ten people with rheumatoid arthritis are anaemic.
Unlike osteoarthritis, which only affects the bones and joints, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in other parts of your body. The condition can also cause inflammation of your tear glands, salivary glands, the lining of your heart and lungs, and your blood vessels.
How can Complementary Therapies Help with Arthritis?
- Increasing blood circulation to the affected joints
- Reducing Inflammation
- Boosting energy levels to counteract lethargy and encourage exercise
- Releasing tension which is inhibiting circulation
Increasing blood circulation to the affected joints:
Any holistic therapy involving movement will increase the circulation of blood in the body and improve the function of the lymphatic system to clear toxins. With improved blood circulation the body is enabled to clear inflammation in the joints: All forms of Massage, Bodywork, Acupuncture, Bowen Technique, Craniosacral Therapy and Shiatsu help in this way. When the joints are especially affected by cold and damp weather it can be useful to heat the joints using moxa; a chinese herb used by Acupuncturists.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, and Western Herbs all work to reduce inflammation in the body by stimulating the bodies natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Cooling herbs can be especially useful when joints are particularly inflamed and hot.
To read an Acupuncture testimonial from someone with arthritis please click here and scroll down to testimonials
Boosting energy levels to counteract lethargy and encourage exercise
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs, Bowen Technique, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Hypnotherapy, Massage, NLP, Schneider Self-Healing, and Shiatsu all work in different ways to boost energy levels. Please click on the therapies for further information about each.
Releasing Tension which is inhibiting circulation
Often it is important to look at the underlying causes of tension which cause muscles to tense thereby inhibiting blood circulation and preventing the body from healing itself. Exploring these underlying causes of tension can be done at depth through Core Process Psychotherapy or Life Tracking. A fair amount of discussion and exploration into lifestyle issues causing tensions occurs in sessions of Acupuncture, Bowen Technique, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Hypnotherapy, and NLP. Bodywork in the form of Massage, Reiki, Reflexology, Craniosacral Therapy and Shiatsu all work to release tension in the body.
If poor posture is creating tension in the body causing problems in the shoulder joint then Alexander Technique can be useful to explore better use of the neck, back and arm muscles. Qigong can be a very helpful practice to release tension in the muscles surrounding the knee and shoulder joints.