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‘I Think It’s Arthritis’

Arthritis is a term that gets bandied around a lot, but often people have little understanding of what arthritis is or what can be done about it. At the clinic we often encounter the misconception that it is something that comes with age and is therefore something that we have to put up with.

Spoiler alert…

…this is not the case; there is a lot that can be done about it!

This blog series will outline everything you need to know, including: what arthritis is, how it is diagnosed, what it means long term, and importantly what can be done about it.

What is it?

Arthritis is a term used to describe pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint.

There is more than one type which contributes to a lot of the confusion surrounding the topic. Typically when people refer to arthritis, they are talking about osteoarthritis (OA). This type of arthritis is typically associated with the ageing process. Think of it as the internal equivalent of grey hair and wrinkles. You can view our comprehensive guide to OA here. Spondylosis (not to be confused with spondylolythesis, or scoliosis!) is a fancy word that we give specifically to OA affecting the spine.

Other types include: rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and gout. These conditions also result in pain, swelling and stiffness in joints, but the processes within the body that result in this are different to osteoarthritis. Click here to learn more about these conditions.

What type do I have?

The majority of the people we see in clinic have osteoarthritis. This is by far the most common type. Often, through taking a detailed history and conducting a thorough examination of the affected joints, an experienced physiotherapist will be able to confirm a diagnosis of OA.

If the diagnosis needs clarifying further, or advanced arthritis is suspected, they may suggest you have an x-ray. Occasionally, a different type of scan such as an MRI is required to differentiate from other conditions.

If your physiotherapist suspects that you may have a different type of arthritis such as those listed above, they will often recommend that your GP refers you for a blood test to check for certain markers in your blood. They may also recommend a referral on to a rheumatologist. Your diagnosis will influence what treatment options are available to you.

I think I’ve got arthritis, what should I do?

At times, the symptoms of arthritis can be very debilitating and are often not something you have to put up with. The first step in managing the condition is see a physiotherapist to get a confirmed diagnosis. Once you have this, you can weigh up the treatment options available to you.

To book a consultation with one of our experienced team member book online, or give us a call on 0114 267 8181.