The joints in our body are constantly subjected to loading, through continuous movement and stress of our posture or through everyday physical activity. Each of these movements can lead to inflammation. In addition, over the years, our joints themselves may deteriorate and lead to the onset of arthritis.
Before I talk about some therapies for osteoarthritis, it’s good idea to understand just what this disease is. Osteoarthritis one of a hundred degenerative conditions which can affect us and lead to the acute inflammation of our joints. More specifically, it is the chronic decay of articular cartilage, with can also affect bone, Synovial membrane and the areas known as joint capsules. In general osteoarthritis is a disease that primarily affects the elderly and women, but it can affect anyone and at any age. Those of us who put more pressure on our joints daily, perhaps because of the work we do, are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis than others.
There are many therapies for osteoarthritis. They range from therapies prescribed by specialists to alternative medicines, through to ultrasound treatment. Medicine based remedies for osteoarthritis often involve anti-inflammatory drugs which attempt to reduce inflammation and therefore pain. Treatments such as acupuncture and homeopathy can help many arthritis sufferers find relief from pain, but often these therapies for osteoarthritis do not provide a definitive solution to the problem.
Ultrasound treatment for arthritis, although it needs a longer time to help decrease pain, ultrasound treatment leads to longer lasting results compared to alternative medicine techniques, and has fewer side effects when compared traditional medicine based treatments. Ultrasonic devices act directly on veins and increase blood flow around the area affected by arthritis. This helps reduce inflammation and relieves pain. Ultrasonic therapies consist of two phases which act simultaneously. The first is a kind of micro-massage, a purely mechanical action, and the second is heat-related. The heat helps increase the permeability of cell membranes.
Basically, two techniques are used in the treatment of osteoarthritis with ultrasound: direct and indirect. In the first, the head unit of the ultrasound emitter is applied directly to the inflamed area. With the second technique, ultrasound is transmitted through water. Ultrasound waves (ranging from 800,000 to 1,200,000 cycles per second) spread more uniformly in water. Directly applied ultrasound therapies are particularly recommended for the treatment of individual joints. Otherwise, water-based ultrasound therapy is more appropriate where a number of joints, even of a small size, such as those in our hands or feet require treatment.
Find out more about Ermitage Terme Bel Air’s ultrasound treatments for arthritis.