Osteoarthritis (OA), which the most common type of arthritis, is wear and tear in the smooth cartilage protecting the bones in joints. This eventually leads to bone erosion, bone spurs and unsightly bony end thickening. The joint juice (synovial fluid), swells and becomes inflamed and sticky. The attacked bone haemorrhages precious calcium. The result tends to be pain and stiffness, worsening as the severity increases.
Indicators of OA are painful joints and especially more pain and stiffness when you wake or start moving. By 50 years old 8 out of 10 of us have OA and by 60, 9 out of 10. Left untreated, OA can have a massive negative impact on your quality of life untreated may need surgery. In fact, 95% of surgery on knees and hips is OA related.
Could you have OA even though you don’t hurt much?
Perhaps surprisingly, the amount of pain felt does not always match the amount of wear and tear. Hence you need to be examined by experts. Cartilage itself has no pain receptors, so it can’t send an Ouch signal to the brain. Modern research also shows little correlation of wear and tear to pain severity. Hence pain alone cannot be used to determine the need for highly invasive joint surgery.
Pain signals are sent to a nociceptive part of the brain (the part which processes pain from tissue damage) and Mr Pain starts shouting out, in a way that is a million times more distracting than your conscious thoughts. More over, after just 3 months Mr Pain moves into the emotional centre and hardwires himself into your mood and previously innocuous lifestyle activities. What this means is that your brain memorises and associates Mr Pain with an activity that should normally be enjoyable. Mr Pain becomes Mr Chronic Pain.
Can we help you with OA and Chronic Pain?
The good news is mindfulness physiotherapy can massively reduce Mr Chronic Pain. We advocate working towards optimum health with our 4 Keys approach. Nicky’s favourite treatment combination of modalities are: Wellness physiotherapy with a good exercise prescription and mindfulness, dietary advice and supplementation, MRT to help regenerate cartilage, acupuncture to give some immediate pain relief, and in less severe cases, shockwave for stiffness.