Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint condition caused by a mechanical wear-and-tear, which most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands and spine. Damage to cartilage and the exposed bone beneath can cause joint pain and stiffness, especially first thing in the morning, after exercise, or after periods of inactivity.

Primary osteoarthritis comes on with age although not everybody is affected, and it can be linked genetically. Secondary osteoarthritis is linked to a specific cause such as past injury to a joint or obesity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is the 2nd most common type of arthritis in the UK. As it is systemic, it affects multiple joints, especially the hands, knees, hips, and neck and can leave the patient feeling ‘one degree under’. It is characterised by inflammation of the synovial joint lining and erosion of joint surfaces, causing redness, heat, swelling, pain and multiple joint stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an ‘auto-immune’ condition, meaning the body’s own immune system is attacking its own tissues instead of germs or viruses. Although it can be severe, effective management of the condition minimises symptoms so normal lifestyle can be resumed!

Other autoimmune conditions affecting joints include ankylosing spondylitis, which mainly affects the spine, reactive arthritis, which can come on following a virus/infection, psoriatic arthritis, associated with psoriasis, and enteropathic arthritis which is associated with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis). Although a formal diagnosis requires tests undertaken via your GP, alternative therapists can offer effective treatments to reduce symptoms and improve well-being.

Traditional Treatments for Arthritis