Osteopath treating osteoarthritis

5 myths about Osteoarthritis

Did you know that Osteoarthritis is the most common joint condition, affecting 520 million people around the world. The odds of having osteoarthritis increases with age, but it isn’t true that we are guaranteed to suffer from it as we get older.

Myth 1 – Exercise will make osteoarthritis worse.

Research has stated that exercise is one of three core treatments for osteoarthritis. This should involve strengthening around the affected joint and general cardiovascular exercise. Strengthening muscles around the joint can improve symptoms by protecting it and improving your general fitness can also reduce general inflammation.

Myth 2 – Osteoarthritis always requires a scan.

X-Rays aren’t usually helpful in diagnosing osteoarthritis as there is not a strong relationship between osteoarthritis symptoms and structural changes seen on scans.

Myth 3 – Pain equals damage.

Evidence has shown there is no correlation between the changes that naturally occur in osteoarthritis and the symptoms that are experienced. If you do experience pain, there’s still a huge chance you can control your symptoms. Pain is a complicated sensation that is not directly related to the structural changes in your joint; it is influenced by a number of factors including our emotions, level of stress, poor sleep and general inflammation.

Myth 4 – Osteoarthritis will always need surgery.

This myth stems from the belief that no matter what you do, osteoarthritis will get worse. Only about a third of people get worse over time but some see improvement in their symptoms. There are many positive things that you can do to help yourself, and the first thing is to get booked in with us at VITAL Health; we can assess the joint and recommend things you can be doing to improve pain and movement.

Myth 5 – Arthritis is purely due to wear and tear on the joints.

There are many risk factors that may make it more likely that you will have problems with arthritis. Being overweight increases the level of inflammation in your system, this in turn contributes to joint changes as well as putting more strain on any affected weight-bearing joints. Losing as little as 6% of your body weight has been shown to result in a reduction in pain and improved function.

Woman sitting uncomfortably at a desk

Sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin…to talk about posture

Do you work from home, sitting at a computer? Do you feel like your posture is not what it should be? Here at Vital Health we want to ensure that your posture isn’t causing any pain or creating any problems for your future.  

When you are in a seated slumped position it has been found that this increases the risk of getting lower back discomfort. A study found that both people with lower back pain and people without, after 20 minutes of sitting, both groups of participants adopted a slumped way of sitting. This therefore shows that even people without back pain adopt an incorrect way of sitting that is putting the spine in a position that can cause problems in the future. If your desk isn’t ergonomically set up correctly then this also increases the risk of back pain as you are putting the spine into a position it doesn’t want to be in. Below is a picture of an ergonomically set up desk, which you could try and adopt in your home to minimise the pressure being put on the spine.  

Ideal desk setup for good posture
Ideal desk setup for good posture

Did you know that periods of prolonged sitting eventually leads to inactive glutes and weak core muscles. Inactive glutes can lead to back pain, knee pain and much more. Prolonged periods of sitting can also lead to tight hip muscles and tight hamstrings. This is just a few more reasons as to why prolonged periods of sitting are bad for the body.  

Here at Vital Health we are offering Posture Screen assessments to analyse your posture and then compare it with the perfect posture. This will give the physical therapist an idea of what muscles may be too tight and what muscles may be too weak. It will also look at your head position and look at your head weight going down the spine. Even if you don’t currently suffer with any aches or pains, the posture screen will highlight any future problems that may arise if you continue with your current way of standing and sitting.

If your posture is something you want to improve, get in touch with us at Vital Health and we can start the process to achieving the perfect posture.

back pain tiptree

A pain in the back(side)

It’s a common thing.

Whether you have lower back pain, stiffness or an ache – it’s very tempting to think that it’s nothing and that it will go away on its own. Maybe you’re passing it off as having “slept awkwardly”, that it’s just a “spasm” or a bit of stiffness that “everyone” your age suffers from.

There’s no obvious reason why it happened – but it doesn’t seem to be shifting.

Lower back pain and sciatica is the most common problem that we see in our practice and usually GPs will advise to “try these painkillers” and “see how it goes”. This is rarely the best advice and often six weeks later, you end up going back to the Doctor again because it hasn’t got any better. Worse still, you are given yet another prescription of even stronger pills, and advised MORE rest. And the cycle continues. As a result, many people, like you, just end up accepting it as ‘part of life’.

Seven reasons why back pain lasts longer than it should:

You thought it would go away on it’s own – but it didn’t​

You went to the Doctor who told you to rest and take painkillers – but the pills did nothing to help your back, and as soon as they wore off chronic back pain struck again

A family member, or friend, told you that everybody gets back pain as they get older, so you just accepted it.

You tried other Healthcare Professionals, or a Physio in the past, but nothing they said or did seemed to help.

You tried YouTube exercises but they either didn’t do a thing, or made your back pain ten times worse.

You thought it would be a good idea to rest because your back pain was so bad, but all that did was make it feel even more stiff and tight.

You decided to get a few “massages” hoping that would fix the pain, but all they did was feel nice and relaxing, and didn’t do anything to fix it long term…

The reality is that perhaps the pain you’re experiencing has been caused by years and years of poor posture which weakened the muscles in your l​ower back. The awkward sleeping position was just the effect of that. It’s finding the cause which is the key to fixing it.


‘Accio’ Sciatica

If only summoning a cure to sciatica was as simple as simple as casting a Harry Potter spell.

Sciatica often causes every-day struggles with family life and the need to take time off work. Here are our four tips on what to do to get rid of sciatica quickly:

Decide to get help. It is easy to procrastinate and hope that the pain will ease with rest, pain killers or home hot/cold compresses.

Do the CORRECT exercises. One of the best things to help you ease your sciatica is to do the right series of progressive exercises. The right exercises will help reduce pain, allow you to move freely again and make sure that the problems don’t come back (or aggravate your back even more).
Avoid sitting and resting for long periods. While the temptation can be to lie on the sofa, it often results in awkward positioning leading to more stiffness and tightness.
Get hands on treatment with an osteopath – Osteopathy is proven to help people with sciatica. In fact, it’s one of the most common injuries we see.

If your back pain is affecting your job, your ability to keep active, if it threatens your independence or gets in the way of spending quality time with family and friends – we can help you to quickly get back to living the life you love.