When it comes to managing arthritis we have to get real about how much we expect to achieve with osteopathy alone. We know we can really change arthritis pain and dysfunction but we also know that you really do have to take a whole body approach. A few supplements and the occasional treatment might bring relief from flare ups but probably won’t really change the progression of the disease or help you make real, long terms, functional gains.
So what does a ‘whole body’ approach look like?
1) Talk you your osteopath about the issue and be sure you walk away with a comprehensive plan that includes the following;
- An explanation of why this has likely occurred and what are the likely driving factors so that you can ensure you address as many of these factors as possible and minimise your contribution to the problem
- An exercise plan that aims to strengthen the local area and offload the joint by strengthening more distant areas
2) Get active, walk, swim, run, ride…do whatever floats your boat but just get moving. We know that movement minimises pain and improves joint and muscle health as well as mood, brain health, heart health; what more reason do you need? If you don’t know what activity is good for you or want to check in on what you should or shouldn’t do, talk to your osteo. That’s what we’re here for.
3) Take a good hard look at your diet, are you getting enough of the building blocks to repair and maintain your muscles and joints? Are you creating an inflammatory environment with poor food choices and then trying to put the inflammation out with ibuprofen? Not sure? Again, talk to us, we can help guide you or refer you on to a nutritionist.
4) Consider taking supplements; these can be aimed at tissue repair like chondroitin or glucosamine or aimed at decreasing pain and inflammation like turmeric and vitamin D. Either way supplements have been shown to be helpful for many people with arthritis but be sure to chat to a pharmacist to ensure their are no interactions with other medications you might be taking.
5) Develop some pain management strategies; this means working with your osteopath to understand your pain, why you have it and what can make it better and worse. This will help you to limit the hold pain has on your life so you can get more out of it.