Osteoarthritis Management- Physiotherapy can help!


Osteoarthritis (OA)

Arthritis affects approximately 4.6 million Canadians and 1 in 10 Canadians report having Osteoarthritis. This is a condition that affects the joints of the body. Within a joint, there is articular cartilage, which serves to reduce friction during movement, and protects our joints. OA is when this cartilage breaks down leading to decreased joint space and bone on bone contact, which in turn leads to inflammation and pain. It can commonly affect spine, hips, knees and hands.

Common Symptoms

  • Joint pain especially in the morning or after excessive activity
  • Morning stiffness, or stiffness after prolonged sitting at the affected joint
  • Loss of range of motion at the affected joint

Some Tips to help Manage your OA

  1. Get informed and be educated! Research shows that people who are educated about their OA and self-management techniques have a reduction in pain, disability and use less pain medication.
  2. Maintain a healthy body weight! Excess weight can cause extra stress or pressure on the joint, therefore if applicable, reducing weight can reduce pain and slow down progression or further joint.
  3. Get Moving! Physical activity leads to a decrease in pain and disability associated with OA. Exercise builds strength in our muscles to support the joints and reduce the load through the joint, improves circulation as well as joint lubrication and nutrition.
  4. Maintain a healthy Balance! It is important to balance rest with movement because excessive activity and overdoing things can increase pain and cause further injury, but at the same time too little activity can result in pain and stiffness.
  5. Visit a Registered Physiotherapist! Physiotherapist are trained to assess and treat people with OA. Treatment may address range of motion limitations, muscular weakness and include appropriate exercises for you to work on at home.

Jennifer Harvey
Registered Physiotherapist
ALPHA Health Services

Canadian Physiotherapy Association
Cibulka MT., White DM., Woehrle J. et al. Hip pain and mobility deficitship osteoarthritis: clinical practice guidelines linked to the International classification of functioning, disability, and health from the orthopaedic section of the American Physical Therapy Association. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009; 39(4): A125.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Rhona McGlasson and Mark Anunciacion. Clinical practice changes are required to improve the outcomes for individuals with knee and hip osteoarthritis, GLA:D™Canada. April 1, 2016.
The Arthritis Society

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