In the UK, it is estimated that ten million people suffer with arthritis; affecting people of all ages. It’s a common condition that causes inflammation to the joints and can also cause severe pain. Often the people who suffer from arthritis are adults in their late forties or older. More specifically, it usually occurs in women and those who have a family history of the condition.
There are two main forms of the crippling condition which are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The former affects around eight million people and harms the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult, leading to stiffness and pain.
Over time the cartilage inevitably starts to thin out and roughen, meaning the ligaments and tendons have to work harder. This can cause swelling and red patches along the body. In more severe cases, substantial loss of cartilage can force bones to rub together, altering the shape of a joint.
In contrast, Rheumatoid Arthritis affects around 400,000 people. The distinct difference between the two forms of arthritis is that Rheumatoid comes about when the body’s immune system specifically targets affected joints. This, again, leads to swelling and pain.
With this form of arthritis, the first place usually affected is the outer covering of the joint. This then has the ability to spread across the joint, changing the joint’s shape and causing swelling. The cartilage actually has the ability to breakdown completely with those who suffer this type of arthritis, as well as developing further problems with other tissues and organs in the body.
Having described the two most common types of arthritis in the UK, perhaps it would come as a bit of surprise that there is no cure for the condition. However, there are many treatments that have the ability to slow down the process and help alleviate pain. Far from the extreme measures of undergoing surgery, there are many natural ways to overcome the symptoms of arthritis. One of these is hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy is essentially the use of water for the treatment of different conditions or ailments. The idea of treating disease through water is not a new concept. In fact, it is a centuries old tradition in Greek and Roman cultures. Essentially, the belief is that water is used as a medium to manage and overcome disease.
Hydrotherapy treatments are effective for those who suffer with arthritis because the buoyancy of the water reduces the effect of gravity or pressure on the joints. Because of this, the movements which usually cause pain on land can be easily performed when submerged in water. Other benefits of hydrotherapy include:
Having named several benefits of hydrotherapy for the effective treatment of arthritis, there are also ways these can be amplified. For example, by simply changing the temperature of the water, the treatment for arthritis can be enhanced. High water temperatures can relax the body, soothe muscles and has the ability to make tense, stiff muscles loose again.
Cold water on the other hand, is normally used to increase impulses and reduce sharp pain or swelling by nullifying the pain receptors. Occasionally, both hot and cold water temperature variations are used to treat the condition. In this case, a warm bath would then be followed immediately by a cold shower.
The great thing about using hydrotherapy as a treatment for arthritis is that there are almost no side effects and it is considered a great form of alternative therapy. Hydrotherapy has been known to hydrate cells, improve muscle relaxation, stimulate the immune system, increase metabolism and improves overall digestion. It used for increased body functioning and improved blood flow.