Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, which we often refer to as “wear and tear.” It’s normal degeneration and is asymptomatic in a lot of people.
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint in the body and the process of degeneration is the same. Symptoms can vary significantly depending on location, severity, usage etc. When wear and tear happen in the spine it is called Spondylosis
Almost all joints in the body are made from a bone, covered in a cartilage layer, meeting another bone which is also covered in cartilage. The cartilage creates a smooth surface to allow for easy and fluid movement of the joint. When a joint starts to wear, the cartilage that covers the bone becomes thinner and can be worn completely away in certain areas. As this happens the bones get closer together, rubbing and causing more friction. This then causes the bone to deform and grow osteophytes (extra bone), also known as spurs, that can catch and cause severe pain.
As with any condition that causes pain, your body will respond by tightening muscles, altering movement and changing posture to reduce the work load on the area that is damaged. Also see our section on Postural problems
At the Osteopathic Health Centre we are able to assess the level of degeneration, advising you on the best course of treatment moving forwards. That may include, referral back to your GP, suggesting x-rays, possible surgery, as well as Osteopathic treatment. We will look at the affected area, but also address the strain throughout the whole body. As Osteoarthritis is an ongoing and sometimes progressive condition, it is even more important to make sure all other areas of your body are working the best that they can, reducing further pain and wear. Your Osteopath will advise the correct exercise and treatment for your problem.