OA usually affects the larger weight bearing joints like the spine, hips, knees etc., but can be found in smaller joints such as the ends of the fingers, wrists, toes, or even the jaw. The problem is usually noticed in just one or two joints initially.
It is important that the distinction between these two conditions is fully understood, as the treatment and prognosis for each are very different. Painkillers are not the only solution to the aches and pains associated with arthritis. For longer lasting relief it is necessary to treat the underlying causes of pain, a job for which the osteopath is specifically trained. Osteopathic treatment is aimed at improving the range of pain free movement. In many cases tight muscles surrounding the affected joint exacerbate the pain. Easing this tightness can substantially relieve the discomfort. The pain caused by local inflammation is often helped by massage and electrotherapy such as Ultrasound.
Another aim of treatment is to strengthen the muscles around the joint so as to afford better support for the future and, with other exercises to maintain the mobility levels, reduce the rate of further degeneration.
Obviously the condition can sometimes be so far advanced that you may require surgery and, if so, your Osteopath will suggest that you talk to your G.P.