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Physiotherapy is key to Arthritis Treatment

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is an umbrella term for many conditions that cause pain and inflammation within a joint. The main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. According to the NICE Guidelines as we age particular areas of the joints slowly start to wear away. When this happens, the body adjusts and adapts the structure of the joint by repairing small injuries which occur as a result of everyday use. Most of the time this natural aging process does not cause any symptoms, however symptoms can start to develop when there is an incomplete repair process. The most common areas affected are the hips, knees, feet and hands however other joints in the body can be affected.

What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis?  

  • ·         Pain
  • ·         Stiffness
  • ·         Problems moving the joint
  • ·         Swelling
  • ·         Inflammation
  • ·         Flare ups

The NICE Guidelines state that Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term symmetrical systemic autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system which usually helps fight off infection accidently attacks the cells that line the joints (synovium). This type of arthritis usually affects the smaller joints in the feet and the hands however it can affect any synovial joint.

What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

  • ·         Stiffness in the morning lasting more than 30 minutes
  • ·         Pain
  • ·         Heat
  • ·         Inflammation
  • ·         Swelling

What this means and the research behind it.

A Yougov online poll completed on World Arthritis Day, 12th October was undertaken to see how many people with arthritis used one type of treatment to help relieve the pain that they experience. 53% of people struggling with arthritis used some form of physical activity to manage their symptoms. 

Based on the findings Yougov then researched the impact that arthritis had on 2074 people between the ages of 25-65 in Great Britain. The research was based on the effects Arthritis ‘can have on personal well-being, life, satisfaction and mental health’ (CSP frontline magazine)

The research shows that Physiotherapy is one of the most common forms of professional healthcare advice and treatment that people seek out, with 47% of these people receiving some form of guidance and help from them. It also showed that two in five people (42%) felt that having treatment appointments booked in, in a clinical setting with a Physiotherapist helped with improving their pain.

The feedback from these findings shows that Physiotherapy is key in treating Arthritis, not just for the pain associated but also for personal wellbeing, mental health and satisfaction. It also shows the need for readily available access to Physiotherapists and how they can give the best advice in line with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy campaign ‘love activity, hate exercise’.

If you want to find out more about the CSPs campaign ‘love activity, hate exercise’ here is a link:


CSP frontline magazine