New study shows exercise therapy reduces OA symptoms and disease progression.
Treatment emphasis is now on limiting progression of the disease, rather than invasive intervention such as surgery or joint replacement.
Read the full article below about new research and how exercise with aquatic therapy can help.
**Ask your physiotherapist for more detail about your holistic OA treatment plan with pain management, exercise on land and water based therapy.**
Osteoarthritis (OA) is an extremely common disease in the UK. According to Arthritis Research UK one in four people over the age of 45 have sought treatment for OA.
In recent years there has been a shift in approach towards treatment, whereby the emphasis is now on limiting the progression of the disease as opposed to relying on joint replacements and other more invasive procedures.
Exercise has long been promoted as the most effective way of reducing pain and improving function amongst people with this condition. However, the symptoms can often be extremely self-limiting, meaning that many people find it difficult to engage in traditional land based exercises due to pain. This in turn can lead to reduced activity levels, general de-conditioning and increased body mass, which all have a negative effect upon the progression of the disease.
A recent study evaluated the effects of aquatic training on a sample of post-menopausal women with mild OA. The results of the 16 month study revealed a significant reduction in body fat mass and an increase in walking speed; two key risk factors for the progression and worsening of symptoms amongst this population. The results show that taking part in aquatic therapy could slow down the loss of cartilage and reduce symptoms. This is particularly important amongst postmenopausal women as there is a risk of gaining weight due to reduced muscle mass, that sadly comes hand in hand with ageing.
Therefore this form of training could enable postmenopausal women to take part in regular exercise that they may otherwise be unable to do because of pain. If your knee pain is preventing you from joining a gym, walking or going to a class then consider contacting your local hydrotherapy pool or heading to your local pool to do some water based exercises.
* The type of water based activity is important, as it may be better to do ‘aqua-rehab’ exercises such as walking, squatting and lunges rather than lengths of breaststroke for example. Ask your physiotherapist about specific exercises to complement your pain management and land based programme. *