Destructive autoimmune arthritis
The joint degradation that occurs with rheumatoid arthritis is different to that of osteoarthritis because it is not related to age or activity. It is one of those disorders where the body seems to turn on itself with inflammation and destruction, in this case, of the joints. The knuckles of the hands usually show the moist destructive changes, becoming swollen and bending a bit sideways, although any joint in the body can be affected.
Manual therapy can only really provide some symptomatic relief for the relatively functional joints and tight muscles. Special care needs to be taken if treating the neck because some of the upper neck joints can become dangerously unstable with this condition and are often best left alone for safety reasons
Other reactive joint arthritis conditions include psoriatic arthritis (joint pain in people with psoriasis), and ankylosing spondylitis (similar to rheumatoid arthritis but mainly involving the hips and spinal areas). Again, in these cases, osteopathy is only useful in helping the associated mechanical joint and muscle issues. Sufferers of these conditions can often tell which aches are due to the arthritis acting up, and which aches are the simple mechanical aches that we can help, so we can work around the problem to some extent.