OsteoArthritis - The Medical Model

According to the Greeks the term ‘arthritis’ simply means ‘inflammation of the joints’ (Brewerton, 1995, p43). However, Osteoarthritis (OA) is not primarily an inflammatory disease and the term ‘arthritis’ can be somewhat misleading. It was not until the early part of the twentieth century that osteoarthritis was distinguished from rheumatoid arthritis, largely by microscopical analysis (Cecil and Archer, 1926, p741-746). Osteoarthritis was found, primarily, to be a result of cartilage and bone degradation. Inflammation came as a secondary matter and could take a considerable amount of time to develop (Brewerton, 1995, p125). For this reason, a lesser-known term for this condition is ‘osteoarthrosis’ (Kersley and Glyn, 1991, p7). None-the-less, OA can be considered a chronic inflammatory disease, especially as the more aggressive forms can progress rapidly and be accompanied by severe inflammation (Stevens and Lowe, 1995, p491).

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