Arthritis & Osteoporosis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition sometimes called ‘wear and tear’ usually affecting the spine, hips, knees, feet, and hands.
“It’s not the beginning of the end”
Many people coming in to see me for arthritic pain believe this. The first thing I like to do is educate my patients that It’s NOT! Arthritis is a naturally occurring part of life, but with good treatment, the pressure will be taken away from your painful joint. Combined with good advice around diet, exercise and stress levels I can slow the process down, helping you lead a healthy life.
Activity can be one of the best things to help arthritis – but some people cannot even walk at times due to high pain levels. Here at the bepainfree.ie clinic I can free up your body and slowly help you along the way to recovery by using tips and tools to conserve energy, protect joints, manage pain and simplify everyday tasks.
Unfortunately, doctors are not educated around the various avenues available to patients and will simply advise medication or an exercise program or worst case scenario, an operation. Of course surgery may be necessary but in my opinion, a good course of osteopathy must be considered to see if I can help, before you go under the knife.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease causing chronic inflammation of the joints.
How will osteopathy help?
If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis you would benefit from having regular osteopathic treatment when you are not suffering a “flare-up”.
During a “flare-up,” your joints are going to be red, swollen and painful and you are not going to want to move them. Therefore in times of ease, I work to gently stretch and articulate them, keeping as much movement as I can and looking at the surrounding muscles, making sure that they are not becoming short and tight. I then look at the rest of your body and make sure that each joint has as much movement as it can, and that the muscles are all working correctly. Diet, lifestyle and stress factors which all contribute to your pain levels are also accessed.
My aim is simple – to get you moving and out of pain, and to minimise any disability that you might be at risk developing.
Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones to the point that they become fragile. It occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, leading to a loss of bone thickness. One in four Irish women and one in 20 Irish men will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis by the age of 60 and these rates are set to increase.
How can osteopathy help?
My techniques help to lengthen the spine taking the pressure off all joints. You’ve seen elderly ladies and men who are hunched over or have gotten smaller, well this is typically down to osteoporosis. By using very gentle and safe techniques coupled with good advice we can help you out of pain to enjoy a happier life.
Please feel free to call me if you’d like any more information on how I can help you.
How can you tell if you have osteoporosis?
Get a Bone density test done…
Currently, the most reliable way to measure bone density is the dual-energy absorptiometry scan or DXA. A “DXA” scan is a short, painless scan that usually measures the density of your bones at the hip and spine.
How to PREVENT getting it in the first place?
Diet and calcium
Enjoying a healthy balanced diet, with a variety of foods and an adequate intake of calcium, is a vital step to building and maintaining strong healthy bones. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, the body will leach (take) calcium from the bones.
You’ve heard all this before right? But parents of daughters should pay particular attention to this one. You really need to get the calcium rich foods into your child’s life as early as possible. A lack of calcium intake in the early years increases the risk of developing this disease later on.
Postmenopausal women, and men aged over 70 years, are recommended to have 1,300mg of calcium per day. Children, depending on their age, will also need up to 1,300mg of calcium per day.
Dairy foods have the highest levels of calcium, but there are many other sources of calcium, including sardines, spinach and almonds. If you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet alone, you might need calcium supplements.
– Vitamin D and calcium promote bone density.
– Vitamin D is important because it helps your body absorb the calcium in your diet.
– Vitamin D is naturally obtained from the sun.
– Vitamin D can also be found in small quantities in foods such as:
* fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel)
* fortified foods such as low fats milk and margarine.
If you want STRONG BONES, then exercise!
Simply put, your body will design its bone density based on your needs. You need to be doing weight-bearing exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, netball, dancing or any running sport. Non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, do not promote bone growth.
Stop smoking – smokers have lower bone density than nonsmokers.
Get some sun – exposure of some skin to the sun needs to occur on most days of the week to allow enough vitamin D production. This varies considerably, depending on the time of year, time of day and your skin colour.
Drink alcohol in moderation – excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Limit caffeinated drinks – taking more than three caffeinated drinks (such as tea, coffee and cola) a day is linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis.