Doha 7 September 2022: With around 20 percent of Qatar’s population living with some form of osteoarthritis, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Physiotherapy experts are highlighting the importance of physiotherapy in managing and treating this increasingly common condition.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative disease affecting more than 500 million people worldwide and cartilage loss or degradation and synovial inflammation are the main characteristics of OA leading to pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited mobility.
World Physiotherapy Day also known as World PT Day is observed on the 8 September every year and is an opportunity for physiotherapists from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial role their profession plays in making and keeping people well, mobile, and independent.
Chief of Physiotherapy at HMC, Ms. Noora Al Mudahka said that this year on World Physiotherapy Day, the department was highlighting the role physiotherapy is playing in helping patients with advice and education on pain relief and how to manage OA.
“OA is a leading cause of disability worldwide and the most commonly affected joints by OA are in the knees, hips, and hands,” Ms. Al Mudahka said “OA causes reduced muscle strength decreased flexibility, weight gain and can limit mobility and can affect any joint, but typically affects hands, knees, hips, lower back and neck,” Ms. Al Mudahka said.
“Its signs and symptoms typically show up more often in individuals over age 50, but OA can affect much younger people, too, especially those who have had a prior joint injury. It typically develops slowly over time, but after such an injury, it can develop much more rapidly, within just a few years. OA is not an inevitable aging disease; some people never develop it.”
Ms. Al Mudahka said there is no cure for OA, but there are ways to manage OA to minimize pain, continue physical activities, maintain a good quality of life and remain mobile.
“Physiotherapy is important part of OA management and is instrumental in teaching people to properly use their joints; exercise correctly in both motion and flexibility exercises as well as cardiovascular exercises such as swimming as well as recommend other therapies,” she said.
It's not possible to prevent osteoarthritis altogether. However, you may be able to minimize your risk of developing the condition by avoiding injury and living a healthy lifestyle – this includes losing weight to reduce the stress on joints and engaging in regular exercise.
Ms. Al Mudahka said there are more than 300 physiotherapists working across HMC’s facilities supporting patients.
“Our team includes specialties such as orthopedics, neurology, cardiorespiratory, pediatrics, women’s health, men’s health, geriatrics, oncology, community-based physiotherapy, and mental health,” Ms. Al Mudahka said. “The process of rehabilitation starts the moment a patient is admitted to the hospital and continues after discharge through outpatient or home care therapy services. “
HMC’s Physiotherapy Department provides physical therapy to patients, seeing more than 240,000 outpatient visits and 250,000 inpatient visits in 2021 and has come so far since our beginnings at Rumailah Hospital in 1957.”
In 2021, the Department launched an online exercise video portal for the referred patients which now hosts more than 700 instructional exercise videos enabling them to continue their recovery outside a clinical setting.