Osteoarthritis (OA) is a long term condition that typically affects individuals over the age of 40 and it has no cure. Due to NZ’s aging population, the prevalence of chronic conditions such as OA are rising, placing stress on the health care system.
How Physio can Help?
Physiotherapists have been identified as being key contributors in assisting patients with the self-management of OA. In particular, physios are valued for their role in patient education about the disease, symptom management and exercise prescription – which is linked with decreases in pain as well as improvements in flexibility and strength.
Common Passive Treatments for Osteoarthritis:
- Cold/heat therapy
Common Active Treatments for Osteoarthritis:
- Strengthening exercises: Your physiotherapist will show you specific home exercises to strengthen your muscles. Working out muscles can help make your joints stronger and help decrease the pain of OA.
- Flexibility exercises: Because OA often makes it hard to move, flexibility exercises are critical. Doing them regularly can help increase range of motion, make your body more flexible, and restore normal joint function.
- Acupuncture for pain relief and decrease of swelling
- Mobilisation of the joints
Both strengthening and flexibility exercises are important because they can help take the strain and pain off the body.
Your physio will create a treatment plan for you. The earlier you treat OA, the better off you’ll be in the long run!
We are planning to start a 6-week group self-management program for individuals in our local area with a current diagnosis of OA.