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Osteoarthritis - Busting the Myths

Research into Osteoarthritis has been extensive over the last decade and many previous beliefs about OA have been disproved. In today’s blog post I will list some of these disproven theories and provide evidence about what the new research suggests.

If you have missed any of our other blog posts over the last 4 weeks then please contact the clinic for more information.

“Exercising will make it worse”

It is correct that researchers are yet to find a cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are now lots of different options to explore to manage the symptoms that can be experienced.

“Only surgery will help!”

Physiotherapy is the gold standard, first treatment option, to manage OA. Physiotherapy should include exercise prescription which is an exercise programme that is suitable for your individual needs and capabilities. It may also involve life style discussions which Luke explored in his blog post last week.

“There is nothing that can be done for OA”

Physiotherapy has been shown to improve function and reduce pain in individuals with OA. However, this is not an instant process; it will take a minimum of 12 weeks of consistent exercise therapy to build strength and improve your exercise tolerance.

Evidence also suggests that other modalities can be useful and I will be discussing these further in blog post 5 next week!

"OA comes and goes"

OA is a condition that can progress over years, alternating in rate of progression between individuals. When an individual is diagnosed with OA, it is a life long diagnosis. Cartilage isn’t able to effectively grow back in these individuals therefore the structural changes that occur in OA cannot be reversed, but symptoms can be better managed. Often people with OA will experience a “flare up”. This can be caused by many factors including exercise levels, temperature, general health and stress levels to name a few. To say that OA can come and go is just not accurate. OA will always be present, but flare ups can intensify symptoms and pain giving people the illusion that it is “coming and going”.

"OA is always painful"

Research shows that the level of structural change does not correlate with the level of pain a person feels. Someone with severe changes on an X-ray may not be experiencing any pain, and someone with only minimal changes on X-ray can be in severe pain. The level of “damage” doesn’t equal the level of pain and disability.


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