Headaches/migraines: Treatment and Prevention

Roughly 10% of the Canadian population suffer from one type of headache or migraine. This is a very high number, and what most people do not realize the cure for most is as simple as a glass of water.

The most common type is the tension headache. This is caused by tight muscles usually in the shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, insomnia, missed meals and dehydration. They are described as mild to moderate pain and feels like your head is being squeezed.

A migraine headaches is usually caused by a trigger such as certain foods, stress, anxiety, insomnia, light, hormones. It is often described as moderate to intense throbbing pain on one side of the head. It can also be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and visual disturbances.

 

Treatment options:

Acupuncture can be one of the most helpful for both acute headaches and prevention. Acupuncture can help relive pain by causing the release of endorphins and increasing circulation.

Supplements can also help relieve a headache and also prevent them. Butterbur, riboflavin and magnesium can all help reduce the frequency of headaches. Other supplements such as feverfew, omegas,  CoQ10 and melatonin have also been shown to help. Which supplement you go with depends on the root cause of your headaches, therefore consulting with a Naturopathic Doctor is key to your success.

When you see our Naturopathic Doctor a full medical history and relevant physical exam will be performed. He may then recommend blood work to rule out certain root cause such as diabetes, thyroid issues, and infection. Some imaging may also be suggested.

 

If you suffer from migraines or headaches book a consultation with Dr. Pace, Natururopathic Doctor.

Beachealth.janeapp.com

Cholesterol: Do not think of it as bad or good!

Cholesterol comes in many forms, in the past some where labeled as bad and others as good. This is not a correct way of looking at them, cholesterol is an essential fat that is required for normal body functions. It is produced by the liver and is needed to build cells, helps in fat digestion, but most of all it is required building block for most hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and vitamin D).

Cholesterol travels through the body with the aid of a substances called lipoproteins. HDL (high density lipoprotein) carries the fat from the arteries to the liver where it is then removed from the body, hence HDL was named the “good” cholesterol as it removed fat from the body. Whereas, LDL (low density lipoprotein) carries it through the bloodstream where clots may form, and was named the “bad” cholesterol. There is also VLDL, which transforms LDL.

We now measure the total cholesterol and compare the totals, as ratios between HDL and LDL determine risk factors for heart disease. We also check sizes of HDL as larger particles are better for health outcomes.

What causes high LDL? Obesity, binge eating, chronic stress, high blood pressure, hypothyroid, insulin resistance, kidney disease, pregnancy, genetics, age and sex.

There are so many factors that can influence your cholesterol numbers therefore testing for more than just lipids is important to find the root cause. Therefore we test, liver, kidneys, hormones, glucose/insulin, and thyroid.

There are some severe symptoms you should look out for and should seek immediate medical interventions: shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, frequent leg pains, poor circulation.

Do not wait for these symptoms to arise, prevention is key.

Book an appointment with Dr. Matthew Pace, Naturopathic Doctor to get your blood work up done. Find
out your levels and determine your risks for heart disease.

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

You may have heard of tennis elbow, but are you familiar with its counterpart, golfer’s elbow? Both are tendon injuries; the connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. So what’s the difference? This problem in the outer elbow is known as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), while golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is located in the inner elbow and forearm.

Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of golfer’s elbow, and how it is treated.

 

What causes golfer’s elbow?

Firstly, you don’t have to be an avid golfer to develop it! It’s an overuse injury caused by any repetitive movement of the wrist, hand and forearm.

Besides overdoing it on the golf course, what are the types of activities that may cause golfer’s elbow?

  • Racket sports like tennis or squash – gripping a racket that is too heavy or too light. Make sure you check your technique as well.
  • Weight training with poor technique causes you to overwork the tendons and muscles of the arms.
  • Ball sports: repeatedly throwing a ball in sports such as bowling, softball and baseball.
  • Manual labour: painting, plumbing, and construction work that involves forceful and repetitive movements cause golfer’s elbow. Doing repetitive work using tools like hammers or screwdrivers may also cause it.
  • Computer work: frequently typing on a keyboard and using a mouse with a poor ergonomic set up.

 

What are the symptoms of golfer’s elbow?

There are some common symptoms you may experience if you have golfer’s elbow. It’s worth noting that the pain develops over weeks or months, often starting out as pain in the inner elbow.

You might experience pain and tenderness that radiates from the inside of the elbow down the forearm. Your elbow may be stiff or difficult to move. Although rare, there may be numbness or tingling in your fingers, or weakness in the hand and wrist also.

 

How is golfer’s elbow treated?

Most of the time this condition is managed at home, following simple steps used to treat tendon injuries:

 

Rest your arm: this one’s important! You need to give the tendon a break for a few days so that it has a chance to heal. Avoid any activity that makes the pain worse. You can gradually re-introduce these activities once the pain is under control.

 

Apply ice: in the initial stages of injury, ice can help to control pain. For the first few days, apply to your elbow and forearm for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day. Contrary to popular belief, you want to limit ice application because the cold temperature can inhibit the natural inflammatory process the body goes through when a new injury develops. We want to allow the body to do its thing, so use ice sparingly and only early on.

 

How can I prevent golfer’s elbow?

  • Take regular breaks from repetitive exercises.
  • Stop any activity that causes elbow or forearm pain.
  • Learn proper techniques for exercise and sport to avoid putting extra stress on your wrists and elbows.
  • Warm up properly before you begin exercise or sports.
  • Increase your arm strength.

 

How can osteopathic treatment help?

Your osteopath can help you to recover from golfer’s elbow. They may use soft tissue techniques such as massage and stretching to reduce muscular tension and increase blood flow to the tendon.

We can also treat golfer’s elbow with shockwave treatment , acupuncture and dry needling.

They will also help you to prevent the injury from reoccurring by conducting an assessment and diagnosing the root cause. Don’t be surprised if your osteo treats your neck, mid-back and shoulder to help with this issue. These areas often need attention too!

 

We’ll put together a treatment plan with you to see you gradually return to your former glory. Tendon injuries like these need an approach that focusses on strength and mobility and ultimately, time.

 

If you are experiencing elbow pain, we are here to help! Don’t let golfer’s elbow impact your handicap. Give us a call on (416) 546-4887 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

Fibromyalgia

Described by patients as “debilitating pain and fatigue which has been going on forever and all my doctors say there is nothing wrong”.

Unfortunately for all fibromyalgia patients they must wait for many tests to be done to finally get a diagnosis, this is called a diagnosis of exclusion, all other potential diagnoses must be rule out first. This can cause extra hardship during the wait as most patients will go without any treatments over the months it can take to rule out all the other diseases.

 

What is Fibromyalgia?

It is a condition of widespread pain and can include sleep issues, fatigue and mood disorders. It is believed that the brain/spinal cord are processing signals differently and causing this amplification of pain sensations. Most patients report the symptoms beginning after an event: physical trauma, infection, stress (emotional or traumatic event) or obesity. Every presentation of fibromyalgia differs but may include any of the following symptoms: dull ache widespread pain, fatigue, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, depression/anxiety, sleep disturbances, memory/concentration issues, and headaches. Also most Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from co-existing conditions like: IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, interstitial cystitis, TMJ disorders and tachycardia. Fibromyalgia affects women 5 times more than men. There may also be a genetic predisposition.

 

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Again, it is a diagnosis of exclusion, so all other symptoms must be rule out. A full work up will be performed which will include full patient history, physical examination, imaging and bloodwork.

 

How is fibromyalgia treated?

The main goal of treatment is to improve the patients quality of life and may not completely resolve the condition. I first recommend physical activity, even daily walks to start can significantly improve quality of life. Next, I recommend things to improve quality of sleep. We will also incorporate an aspect of therapy to change the way you may act or think of past events. Lastly, if needed we will add in supplements, acupuncture or other physical therapies.

 

If you have any further questions you can book an appointment with Dr. Pace, ND

Book at beachealth.janeapp.com or 416.546.4887

Contrast Showers

Contrast showers: From toned skin to improving immune system and much more

A contrast shower is a technique of alternating between hot and cold showers. You start with a 3 minute hot shower (put it to your normal temperature) then switch to a 1 minute cold shower (go as cold as you can), do this cycle 3 times ending on cold. If you do not have the time, reduce the minutes, just keep to a 3 to 1 ratio of hot to cold.

The contrast of hot to cold; increases blood flow, activates the parasympathetic system and releases endorphins therefore we see the following benefits:

  • Increased circulation: the shock provided by the cold makes the heart pump quicker, the body will adapt to this new stress and become more efficient to stresses. Better more efficient circulation provides more nutrients to tissues and allows for better healing times. It also provides better removal of toxins from the bloodstream.
  • Improved immune system: the contrast stimulates the production of white blood cells which in turn creates a better defense against pathogens
  • May help with weight loss: the shock can cause your metabolism to increase
  • Prevent muscle soreness: this technique has been used for a long time in professional sports where the athletes would dunk into cold tanks, this is the same for contrast showers. It reduces inflammation and increases circulation which improves muscle recovery
  • Increased energy and improved mood: the increase of circulation to the brain and shock causing increase in endorphins cause a burst of energy, increased alertness and improved mood
  • Improved skin: the increase in circulation to the skin will provide the nutrients necessary for beautiful skin

 

Find out if contrast showers are right for you, book with Dr. Pace, ND

[email protected]

416.546.4887

 

Back to work: Desk tips to remember!

The silly season is over, and we are all heading back to work! Whether you are going into the office, staying at home or doing a mixture of both — sitting in the same space for 8 hours a day can take a toll on your body.

Prioritizing a suitable workspace is essential for your mental and physical well-being. Keep reading to learn some important desk tips!

  1. Adjust your desk chair

Using an adjustable chair is super important to your desk setup. You should move the height of your chair so that your elbows are resting at approximately 90-degrees. Your hips should be slightly open (so further than 90-degrees… More like 100-110 degrees). If your feet don’t touch the floor, don’t worry — use a foot support. Or failing that, use a ream of paper or a Tupperware container to make sure your feet have the support they need.

  1. Adjust your monitor/s

If you are using a laptop, we recommend investing in an external monitor. Your monitor should be directly in front of you, at an arm’s length away. If you are using two monitors, make sure they are centred (to avoid overturning your head). The top of the monitor should be at your eye level — either adjust the height of the screen or use a couple of books to prop it up.

  1. Use an external keyboard, mouse and headset

Your keyboard should be positioned directly in front of you, about 10cm away from the edge of your desk. Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed to avoid any strain. Make sure your mouse is close to your keyboard to limit shoulder movement. We also recommend a headset or earphones for those of you that are frequently on the phone to avoid holding it in between your neck and shoulders.

  1. Move and stretch!

Sitting at the same desk for long periods of time can risk injury and strain to the body. We often find ourselves slouching after just 10-15 minutes at work, so remember to get up and move your body. We want you to be getting up every hour, so set an alarm if you must! Here are some helpful ways to get us moving at work:

  • Go for a walk
  • Grab something to eat or drink
  • Take a phone call outside
  • Have a meeting standing up
  • Stretch!

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your desk set up, then give us a call on (416) 546-4887 or send us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to help!

Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Many of us have experienced lower back pain at some point in our lives. Whether that is after a fall, running or simply sitting down for too long most days. SIJ is short for ‘sacroiliac joint’, and SIJ pain contributes to around 15-30% of back pain. But most of us don’t know much about it, so today we are delving into SIJ pain and how we can help!

 

What is the SIJ?

The SI joints are located either side of the lower spine, in between your pelvis, specifically, they connect the sacrum to the iliac bones — hence the name sacroiliac! The joints themselves are pretty immobile and only allow for a few degrees of movement, BUT they serve an important purpose as shock absorbers. They also help reduce the pressure on your spine by distributing weight across your pelvis, so it’s important that your back pain is diagnosed correctly!

 

What causes SIJ pain?

SIJ pain or SIJ dysfunction occurs when the SI joints are inflamed and are either restricted or moving too much. If they are restricted, they may be stuck in a slight rotation from their ideal position, which can wreak havoc on your pelvis and the rest of your body. SIJ pain could be triggered from:

  • Injury or trauma, such as a fall or car accident.
  • Persistent impact from running or climbing stairs.
  • Loose ligaments due to hormones in pregnancy.
  • Abnormal walking patterns.
  • Certain medical conditions such as arthritis.
  • One leg being shorter than the other.

 

Symptoms

SIJ pain is typically felt in the lower back and buttocks, but can also present around the hip, groin and extend down the leg to the knee. It usually feels like a sharp, dull or a stabbing pain. In most cases, SIJ pain is typically felt on one side of the body but may present itself in both joints as well (but this is much less common).

 

Other common symptoms are:

  • Difficulty sitting for long periods of time.
  • Feeling of instability in the pelvis.
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected side of the body.
  • Increased pain when walking or running.
  • Pain with certain movements e.g. sitting to standing, bending, twisting.

 

We can help!

Sacroiliac pain is often misdiagnosed as another back injury, so we will perform a thorough examination to ensure we correctly diagnose and treat your body. This may involve checking where your pain is located, your posture, how you walk and even muscle strength.

Once correctly diagnosed, we can use a range of soft tissue massage and manipulation (if needed) to help release tight muscles and realign the pelvis. This will also be accompanied by some stretches and strengthening exercises for your glutes and core muscles.

In some instances, we may recommend a sacroiliac belt to help stabilize the area, especially when the joint is moving too much and is very painful (commonly seen in pregnant women when their ligaments begin to relax).

If you are currently experiencing SIJ pain, we recommend avoiding running and limiting movements that inflame the joints, such as lifting and jumping. Even sports such as cycling and golf may cause pain and discomfort.

Below are a couple exercises to try at home to strengthen your core and glutes:

Bridge: Lie down on the ground with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your palms either side of your body and slowly raise your hips. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower your hips. Repeat 8-10 times.

 

The bird dog: Start on your hands and knees, make sure your hips and shoulders are square and you are looking towards the floor. Slowly extend one arm and the opposite leg. Hold for 5 seconds before releasing down and changing to the other arm and leg. Repeat 8-10 times.

If you think you may be suffering from SIJ or lower back pain and want to avoid experiencing it in the future then give us a call on (416) 546-4887to book your appointment! 

 

 

References

  1. Dydyk, AM., Forro, SD., Hanna A. 2021. Sacroiliac Joint Injury, StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557881/
  2. Yeomans, S. 2018. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain). [Online]. Available from: https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction-si-joint-pain [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
  3. 2013. 6 Best Sacroiliac Joint Pain Exercises, and 5 to Avoid. [Online]. Available from: https://www.braceability.com/blogs/articles/sacroiliac-joint-pain-exercises [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
  4. Danisa, O. 2018. Exercise for Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief. [Online]. Available from: https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-sacroiliac-joint-pain-relief [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
  5. York Morris, S. 2018. Is Your SI Joint Causing Your Lower Back Pain?. [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/si-joint-pain#treatment [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]

The Nervous System

Have you ever wondered what makes our bodies do what they do? Why we move, talk, breathe and everything in between? Well, there is one system of the body that is primarily responsible for driving all those things… your nervous system.

 

What is the nervous system?

The nervous system is a complex collection of nerves and other nerve tissues that intertwine and interact with all the other 10 systems of the body. Even though it is found throughout the whole body, it equates to less than 5% of the total body mass, making it one of the smallest systems of the body. This is hard to get your head around when you consider there are billions of nerve cells (aka ‘neurons’) that make up the system. It’s mind-boggling stuff!

The nervous system is made up of two main parts:

  • Central Nervous System (CNS)
  • Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

 

Central Nervous System

The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The brain is housed inside the skull and connects to the spinal cord through a hole in the base of the skull. The spinal cord runs down the centre of the body and is protected by the spinal column, which is made up of numerous vertebrae (the bones of the spine). The main roles of the CNS include:

  • Processing incoming sensory information from inside and outside the body
  • Sending out commands to the muscles to contract
  • Sending out commands to glands to release hormones
  • Acting as a control centre for emotions, thoughts and memories

 

Peripheral Nervous System

The PNS is made up of all the other nervous tissues that sit outside of the CNS. The nerves that travel from the brain (i.e. cranial nerves – of which there are 12 pairs) and spinal cord (i.e. spinal nerves – of which there are 31 pairs) to the rest of the body and back again make up a large part of the PNS. There are also various other types of nervous tissue that form this system.

The PNS is further broken down into the following parts:

  • Somatic Nervous System (SNS) – Also referred to as the ‘Voluntary Nervous System’ which controls the voluntary movements of the body.
  • Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – further broken down into sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions (the parts of our nervous system that control our ‘fight or flight’ and ‘rest and digest’ responses, respectively)
  • Enteric Nervous System (ENS) – relating to the gut

 

All the above subdivisions of the PNS have a sensory part which transmits information to the brain and spinal cord, and a motor part which transmits information to the body to drive an action. For example, the motor part of the SNS drives contraction of our skeletal muscles allowing our bodies to move. Whereas the motor part of the ANS drives contraction of smooth muscle (found in the arteries and the gut) and cardiac muscle (our heart muscle). The main difference being, the SNS works on a voluntary basis as mentioned above (i.e. we choose to move our arm), and the ANS works on an involuntary basis… it is automatic (or autonomic, hence the name) and all actions occur without us choosing or even really knowing about it (i.e. our heart beating). Cool, huh?!

 

Functions of the nervous system

OK, so we’ve just thrown A LOT of info at you, but hopefully you are starting to see how the nervous system is made up and what jobs it is responsible for. The main overriding job of this system is to control the internal conditions of the body so it can function correctly. We move, we talk, we breathe… and everything in between!

 

If you’re a visual person and need to see or read a real-life example, then think of the nervous system as working like this:

  • You are standing at a pedestrian crossing and the green figure lights up with a corresponding beep. The sight of the light and sound of the beep stimulate receptors in the eyes and ears. This is sensory
  • This sensory information is then relayed to the brain and processed, and a decision is made on what to do (this is actually known as integration, if you really want to know).
  • The brain then decides which muscles to contract to allow you to walk across the crossing to the other side of the road and signals them to move. This is the motor

 

So just remember… sensory, processing and motor, and you have the basic functions of the nervous system under wraps!

 

 

Interested in learning more about the body? It’s fascinating! If you are keen to learn more about what we do, or even move into the field of osteopathy, please do come and chew our ears off next time you are in. Our fantastic profession is always on the lookout for new talent. And you get to spend your life learning about all the cool things the human body can do, as well as helping people reach their full potential! What’s there not to love!

 

 

 

References

  1. Chila, A. 2011. Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine. 3rd Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Tortora, G. and Derrickson, B. 2011. Principles of Anatomy & Physiology. 13th Asia: John Wiley & Sons.

Five foods you should try

Getting bored of the food you eat day in, day out, week after week?! Well lucky for you we have some suggestions for you to help spice up your shopping list and keep you healthy into the festive period (where we’re all likely to pig out and indulge on chocolate, desserts, and cake… and chocolate… and cake… what’s that? We’ve already said chocolate and cake once? So sorry, we can’t quite hear you through all the chocolate and cake!)

 

  • Truffles: OK stay with us. Everyone knows truffles are pretty pricey! We don’t dispute that, but they are starting to become more readily available. And they taste GREAT! We appreciate they are a type of fungus, which might put a lot of people off, but seriously, you should give this little golden nugget a try if you can. Considered a complete source of protein and boasting a host of other health benefits (including having antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticancer properties), this is a must for your shopping list at some point. Black truffles are the most affordable kind, but there are various types on the market. Not sure you want to spend the money? Try a truffle oil first (much more affordable) to see if it sets your tastebuds alight.

 

  • Spirulina: Most commonly sold in powder form, spirulina (an algae) is considered by many to be the most nutrient rich food on the planet. It is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, protein (another source of a complete protein) and iron. You can enjoy this one mixed with just water or added to your morning smoothie. Get ready for the green!!

 

  • Hemp seeds: Don’t be alarmed. Yes, hemp seeds come from a cannabis plant, but rest assured they won’t leave you feeling paranoid or have brain altering effects. They are a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, have antioxidant properties, and are great for the brain, heart and skin. Simply sprinkle over yoghurt, breakfast cereals or salads.

 

  • Insects: By no means a commonly consumed food in a western diet, insects have been consumed in many cultures across the world for centuries. If you can see past the fact you are eating a creepy crawly, these crunchy treats are full of protein and are a nutritious alternative to many meats. And are considerably more sustainable. Go on… give them a go. We hear crickets and mealworm are particularly good options if you’re adventurous (just do your research before picking up bugs willy nilly).

 

  • Dark chocolate: Okay, on a more serious note – this one we know you can find in your local supermarket. We know there is a good chance you have tried dark chocolate at some point in your life, but considering the silly season is nearly upon us, we couldn’t resist. And there is no denying, dark chocolate trumps it’s milk and white counterparts in every possible way. Cacao seeds (used to make dark chocolate) have incredibly high antioxidant properties. This year, give yourself a healthier treat and choose the dark side. We don’t think you’ll ever go back!

 

So, there you have it. Five (or should we say, four?) foods you should definitely try this festive season. Enjoy a healthy Christmas this year and you’ll be starting the New Year feeling great!

 

Merry Xmas everyone!!

 

 

 

References

  1. Healthline. 2018. 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Truffles. [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/truffles. [Accessed 09 November 2021]
  2. Healthline. 2018. 10 Health Benefits of Spirulina. [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-spirulina. [Accessed 09 November 2021]
  3. Medical News Today. 2018. Health benefits of hemp seeds. [Online]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323037. [Accessed 09 November 2021]
  4. Payne, C. et al. 2016. Are edible insects more or less ‘healthy’ than commonly consumed meats? A comparison using two nutrient profiling models developed to combat over- and undernutrition. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 70. 285-291. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4781901/pdf/ejcn2015149a.pdf
  5. Crozier, S. et al. 2011. Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central Journal. 5 (5). Available from: https://bmcchem.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1752-153X-5-5#citeas

 

Arthritis: Osteo- or Rheumatoid?

Arthritis’ is an umbrella term used to describe any condition that affects the joints of the body and is derived from ‘arth’ meaning joint, and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation. Something a lot of people do not realize is there are over 100 different types of arthritis.

Here’s a quick-fire guide to two of the most common types of arthritis… Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). These conditions are often mistaken for each other in the general population but are two very different conditions.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is a chronic, progressive condition that commonly affects the spine, hands, hips, knees, and ankles. Its main feature is the breakdown of the cartilage that lines the ends of bones in a joint. The underlying bone and surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons also become affected and gradually degenerate over time. This condition is often referred to as ‘wear and tear’ of a joint, but more accurately it is result of the body trying to constantly repair itself due to excessive strains being placed on the joints due to poor stability and movement of the body.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease that commonly affects the hands, feet (i.e. small joints) and spine. This condition is driven by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. This leads to widespread and permanent degeneration and destruction of the joint tissues, and a characteristic deformity of joints, particularly those of the fingers and toes. RA is a body-wide condition that also affects the nerves and organs of the body, including the heart, lungs and eyes.

 

Who does it affect?

OA can affect people of all ages but is more common in those aged 45 years and over, and is most common in people who are 75 years and above. People who are overweight and obese are more likely to develop this condition, and there is more chance of having this problem if there is a family history. Injury and repetitive day-to-day movements are also contributing factors.

RA is also most common in those aged 75 and up. The onset of this condition usually occurs anywhere between the ages of 35-65. There is a strong genetic link with this disease, so if there is history in your family, there is a higher chance that you will also develop this condition.

Both conditions affect women more than men.

 

Signs & symptoms

Both OA and RA share the following joint symptoms:

  • Inflammation and pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of function

There are some differences in presentation though. Whereas OA usually affects joints on one side of the body, RA commonly affects both sides at the same time. OA is also more likely to affect the larger joints like the hip and knee, whereas RA most commonly affects the small joints of the hands and feet.

As already discussed, RA also affects other systems of the body, so you are more likely to experience symptoms relating to the nerves, heart, lungs (and other organs) and eyes with this condition.

 

Treatments

As it stands there is no cure for either condition. There are treatments for both conditions which help to manage and slow the progression of symptoms.

OA is best helped by leading a healthy lifestyle, keeping your weight in check, moving regularly and well, and staying in touch with your osteopath on a regular basis 😉. Seriously, osteopathic treatment is a safe and effective way of managing joint pain relating to OA, so we highly recommend coming in for a consultation so we can put a plan in place and help you manage the condition going forward. You don’t have to do this alone! We can also help to advise on the use of movement aids, including the use of walking sticks, frames, braces and orthotics.

If you have been diagnosed with RA, it is likely you will be under the care of a rheumatologist who will help you to manage your condition medically alongside your GP. RA also requires you to stay flexible and strong, so exercise is an important part of your treatment. Osteopaths can also help people with RA. We can work with you to ensure your joints move well so you can retain function into your later years. Naturopaths can help with nutrition and supplements, as well as acupuncture and advise.

 

Do you have a diagnosis of arthritis? We are your people! Call us today on (416) 546-4887 to book your consultation with one of our osteopaths or naturopath or go to beachealth.janeapp.com

 

 

References

  1. Arthritis Australia. 2021. Osteoarthritis. [Online]. Available from: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/osteoarthritis/. [Accessed 12 Sep 2021].
  2. Arthritis Australia. 2021. Rheumatoid arthritis. [Online]. Available from: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis/. [Accessed 12 Sep 2021].
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2021. Osteoarthritis. [Online]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/osteoarthritis/contents/what-is-osteoarthritis. [Accessed 12 Sep 2021].
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2021. Rheumatoid arthritis. [Online]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/contents/what-is-rheumatoid-arthritis. [Accessed 12 Sep 2021].
  5. Arthritis Foundation. 2021. Osteoarthritis. [Online]. Available from: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis. [Accessed 12 Sep 2021].