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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Osteopathic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteopathic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis


Overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition which affects the synovial membranes of various joints. Unlike many other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis most often involves inflammation of tissues outside musculoskeletal system. A chronic systemic disorder manifesting as an arthritic condition.

Osteopathy Treatment

The general osteopathic treatment is a system of treating the body as a whole. It allows the osteopath to perform a total body treatment to reduce symptoms and promote mobility.

Osteopathic Soft tissue treatment

This form of osteopathic treatment addresses neurovascular components within muscular and fascial structures of the joint. The osteopath may massage, stretch, or apply inhibitory pressure to a group of muscles to relax over tense muscles, alter passive local structures, improve local circulation or lymphatic drainage, and provide a general state of relaxation. These techniques may also be used to relax tissues for application of additional treatment techniques.

Springing treatment

Osteopathic springing treatment (low-volume/moderate amplitude technique) has been used to gently alter physiologic carriers of muscles and local soft tissue by inducing a series of precise movements against palpated articular restrictions. These movements may be gentle rocking or manual pulses. The osteopath continues these motions until the barrier is reduced or physiologic motion of the joint has improved.

Osteopathic muscle energy technique

This is a technique used quite often by osteopaths, which utilizes the patient’s own muscle contractions to alter restriction of motion.

Osteopathic myofascial release treatment

This is a techniques that address muscular tensions or imbalances in a joint. The osteopath palpates distortions of connective tissue, assesses for range of motion, and identifies anatomicophysiologic barriers of joint motion. Restricted tissues are gently positioned away from the barrier, into regions of “ease,” and maintained until the patient perceives decreased pain or the osteopath appreciates alteration of tissue texture or relaxation. Joint traction or compression may be added to further relax the connective tissues. Treatment of connective tissue may also stabilize posture and gait.

Manual osteopathy treatment approaches

Selection of the treatment approach depends on location of restriction, that is, bone, muscle, fascia; severity of pain; permitted range of motion; acuteness of condition; and the patient’s anxiety. Postural balance and gait may be stabilized by treating groups of muscles that influence joints to withstand gravitational strain. Muscle energy and myofascial treatment techniques would be appropriate. Both the patient and the manual osteopath would note improvement in strength and range of motion. Soft tissue and springing techniques may relax the patient as well as soften tissues by stimulating circulation to the region or encouraging lymphatic drainage from a limb. Any of the already mentioned treatment techniques may be applied locally to increase joint motion also. Severely restricted regions of the musculoskeletal system in anxious patients respond well to gentle treatment, which not only mobilizes joints, but also balances muscle tension and reduces oedema .

The osteopath also does not have to exert lots of physical energy to execute treatment. The manual osteopath is not “putting back” a joint that is “out of place.” Hence, the application of the treatment procedure is specific and accomplished with minimal effort, while one monitors accumulation of forces across the joint. The joint may be spinal or of an extremity. At the conclusion of manual osteopathic treatment, the manual osteopath should recheck the structures treated and the local and distal effects of musculoskeletal changes.

Any further questions or advise please contact Dynamic Osteopaths on:


T: 07966 317712 (Clinic Mobile)

Key Phrases:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment

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