In Ireland around 915,000 people, including 1,100 children, are living with arthritis, making it the single biggest cause of disability. There are over 100 types of arthritis but the most common forms are osteoarthritis and (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (also known as rheumatic arthritis). People of all ages are living with arthritis, not just the elderly – the average age of diagnosis for people with RA is 35. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common of all types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually develops gradually, over several years, and affects a number of joints. The cause is unknown, but it does appear more in females than males and often starts after the menopause. Osteoarthritis used to be considered ‘wear and tear’, but it is now understood that there are many more factors than age and use that contribute to its development– including obesity, past injury and genetics.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common inflammatory of the types of arthritis. In most diseases, inflammation serves a purpose – it helps healing. In RA the opposite occurs. The RA I inflammation causes damage – it can go on for a long time, or come and go. The body’s natural defences are part of the problem in rheumatoid arthritis. It somehow puts itself into reverse and attacks certain parts of the body instead of protecting it. This auto-immune reaction occurs mainly in the joints, but in a flare-up other organs can be affected. It is not known what causes the immune system to react in this way. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is another form of inflammatory arthritis. Its symptoms are centred around pain and inflammation in the joints of the lower back. ‘Ankylosing’ means stiffening; ‘spondylitis’ means inflammation of the spine. If left untreated the joints of the spine may become fused (bridged by bone) and lose their movement.
At Bradley clinic all our chiropractors and physiotherapists are fully trained in examination of these matters and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. We will also aim to treat and develop individual programmes to help reduce pain and increase function. For more information: