Local muscle strengthening and general aerobic fitness together with manipulation and stretching should be the core treatments for managing osteoarthritis according to a major update on guidance to healthcare professionals from the influential UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Activity is a key part of maintaining good joint health. Proper movement and alignment of the spine is especially important as it forms the lynchpin for overall health and wellbeing through its relationship with the nervous system. The new guidance points out that osteoarthritis doesn’t need to be an inevitable part of ageing or that it will necessarily get worse. These evidence-based recommendations on the most effective ways of diagnosing and managing osteoarthritis show that the core treatment for osteoarthritis remains exercise, which relieves pain for some people and also improves function.
As chiropractors, we welcome the recommendation that the symptoms often caused by osteoarthritis, such as pain and limited joint movement, can be managed with muscle strengthening, exercise and weight loss if people are overweight. The original guideline recommendation that manipulation and stretching should be considered as an adjunct to core treatments, particularly for osteoarthritis of the hip, has been maintained. This reinforces the important role that chiropractors can play in the management of osteoarthritis.
At Chiro Connect, we recommend the New Zealand Chiropractors Association’s (NZCA) basic 3-point plan to help support healthy joint function and minimise the possibility of degeneration:
1) Get checked - having every member of your family checked by an NZCA member chiropractor helps the spine and nervous system to function at an optimal level for overall health and well-being. Your chiropractor can also give you great advice on making positive lifestyle changes.
2) Straighten Up daily - Doing the three-minute set of simple exercises recommended by Straighten Up New Zealand every day will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, enhance health and prevent spinal disability. Find the download here.
3) Watch your back - It is also important to encourage your family members and work colleagues to stand or sit correctly and to take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch if they have been sitting down for a while. This will help to stop muscles getting tight and strained. Chiro Connect often posts on Facebook different ways to check your posture.
Each of these recommendations alone is great, but in combination they are a real winning strategy. Taking steps to improve your health and wellbeing with lifestyle changes and chiropractic care may be just what you need!
- 1. http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG177/Guidance/pdf/English
- Adapted from NZCA Media release 27/02/14