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George Morris Physiotherapist Wigan discusses how to manage Osteoarthritis and what does the research say.

Osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown in the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones. 

It is characterised by stiffness in the joints, which makes it difficult to move around and do certain activities.

While symptoms come and go in episodes, some individuals may experience more continuous and severe problems which make it difficult to carry out everyday activities.

Almost any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the condition most often causes problems in the knees, hips and small joints of the hand.

Data shows that approximately one in five adults over 45 years of age in England has osteoarthritis in the knee.

A new study has identified new  genetic risk factors, in a major step towards the development of the first ever cure for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

The study identified previously unknown differences in disease risk for weight-bearing and non-weight bearing joints  and the risk factors for early onset osteoarthritis. They also identified a link between osteoarthritis and its main symptom, pain.

Ensuring muscle-mass percentage is higher than body-fat percentage is crucial to maintain muscle strength, which helps ensure you move well.

Although there is no cure for the degenerative illness, some existing treatments have been shown to ease symptoms. 

These include:

Physiotherapy: improve range of movement, ease pain  and assist in strengthening the joints. It is always recommended that exercises for osteoarthritis are prescribed by a chartered physiotherapist or appropriate health professional.

Acupuncture: This form of therapy involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body. The treatment has long been revered for its ability to help ease different ailments from joint aches and muscular pain to stress.

Painkillers: While painkillers are effective at dealing with the symptoms of arthritis, they do not provide a long-term cure. High usage may also have side effects including irritation of the stomach.

Glucosamine: Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and is found in high concentration in cartilage, can help relieve pain by slowing the deterioration of joints.

Magnetic bracelets: Some studies have shown that patients wearing highly magnetic bracelets have found significant pain relief.