Sufferers of knee pain know that nothing can kill your optimism for a recovery faster than a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is often seen as a kind of death sentence for joints. Many people believe that if you have OA your pain will never improve and will only get worse until a joint replacement can be performed. In fact, joint replacements for hip and knee OA are some of the most common and indeed successful operations performed by orthopaedic surgeons.
At least, this has been conventional wisdom for decades. Many of us see our bodies like cars, when a part ‘wears out’ it needs replacing with a new one. The truth is much more complicated, mainly due to our bodies’ incredible ability to adapt and change.
Physiotherapists have always known that the pain and disability that comes with arthritis can be improved with a closely targeted exercise program. In some cases, the pain that is attributed to OA is actually due to another, entirely treatable cause. In other cases, strengthening the musculature around the painful joint can have a significant effect by providing the joint with extra support.
The way we move is often affected negatively by pain and this in itself can create a downward spiral. This is not to say that in some cases, surgery is the best and most effective option to improve your quality of life. Rather that there is a strong case to see a physiotherapists to seek treatment for your knee pain first.
Physiotherapists are highly skilled at identifying exactly what is causing your pain and helping you reach the highest level of function. In fact, a recent study has shown that with targeted exercises, directed by physiotherapists – many patients who were scheduled to have surgery were able to improve their quality of life dramatically, avoiding surgery and getting back to their favourite activities.
While exercise is a very powerful treatment, it’s not that any exercise will take away any pain. To be effective, you will need to have a full assessment, with a personalised treatment programme from your physiotherapist. This can involve identifying weak muscles, limitations in flexibility, finding painful trigger points, restoring movement to stiff joints and providing bio-mechanical assessment to make a combination of changes that can make a large difference to your pain and activity levels.
Your physiotherapist can also identify any external factors that may be contributing to your pain. This could be something as simple as unsupportive footwear or workplace set up etc. Talk to us to see how we can help you manage your osteoarthritis.
None of the information in this newsletter is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual condition.
If you require professional advice or treatment, please see our range of treatment options, or book an appointment online. Physio Direct has many clinics located throughout New Zealand, with no GP referral required to make an appointment.
Physio Direct is ACC accredited so you can come to us directly to get an injury registered with ACC without having to go to your GP first, followed by an assessment, treatment and follow up review, to ensure correct care and recovery. Physio Direct can also refer you directly for Cortisone injections, X-Rays and Ultra Sound Scans and on to Specialists if needed.
Please feel free to print out these news letters and put the in the staffroom and hand them out to your team. Understanding more about injuries, gives people the power to prevent an injury from occurring in the first place. Prevention and education is the key!