top of page

Understanding Arthritis

Understanding what to do with arthritic joints.


A lot of people are often told their joint pain is down to arthritis and usually have the impression that nothing can be done - but that’s far from the truth! Unfortunately you might not have been told what having arthritis means and I’d guess that you haven’t had any advice on how you should actively manage your symptoms!

If people did know a bit more about arthritis I’m sure the problem wouldn’t become so big, so I’m here writing this piece today.

Now I’m talking about Osteoarthritis here - which is a normal process all of our joints will go through to some degree.

Osteoarthritis = your joint isn’t as young, fresh and shiny as it once was.

The cartilage that lines the end of your bones has gradually worn away and the joint space narrows a bit…so your joint has lost a bit of its cushion. This happens with age and the way that we use our bodies over the years, and sometimes (because it doesn’t always) - leads to the joint becoming stiff and painful.

Many other factors will contribute to your joint actually becoming painful…from weight, daily usage and muscle strength all the way to poor sleep and being stressed out… just to name a few.

Once these changes develop there’s unfortunately no turning back the hands of time…but the good thing to know is that joints can often function very well and actually be pain-free despite these changes (they don’t happen overnight after all - many joints put up with years of hard labour without even making a fuss).

Theres also plenty you can do to stop things from getting worse and you carry on with the things you love without joint pain stopping you!

What to do with an arthritic joint:

  1. Don’t rely on rest and painkillers.

  2. Exercise.

When looking into how to best manage arthritis you can’t look past the role of exercise.


Helps us to:

  • lose weight (take pressure off the joint)

  • Build muscle (take pressure off the joint)

  • improve joint flexibility.

It’s important to know that the right exercise will reduce symptoms of arthritis, not increase them. A lot of people fear that exercise may harm their joint and might instead opt to rest and take painkillers - and whilst this can be important in the short term to relieve some pain it simply won’t improve your symptoms in the long run!

What if an x-ray shows severe arthritic changes?

Severe arthritis on an x-ray does show the state of your joint but I have seen many people with ‘severe arthritis’ or ‘bone on bone’ changes, who might have even been told they need surgery - but when they understood their symptoms better, understood what was causing their pain and started doing the right exercise - they improved their symptoms and avoided surgery.

Although x-rays can be helpful in showing us what your joint looks like, they don’t actually tell us why you have pain. A picture isn’t enough to tell us why you’re experiencing pain and a lot of the time the changes seen might actually be pretty normal for someone of your age. Like I said earlier, there could be a range of factors that actually cause your joint to become painful and working with a physiotherapist should help you identify them.

So don’t be disappointed if you’ve been told you have arthritis and don’t think that this is the beginning of the end! Arthritis is a sign of ageing but aches and pains are not something you have to "put up with" as you get older!

You can manage your symptoms and keep active with the right advice and treatment and doing this at the earliest opportunity is always best!

Contact Physio At The Door today if you want to find out more.

Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page