Osteoarthritis symptoms can be managed through a combination of exercises, weight loss, pain management techniques, alternative therapies, and nonprescription and prescription medications. However, surgical procedures like knee, hip and even spinal disc removal or replacement may be offered as a last resort for painful joint destruction caused by osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, especially in people who are over 50 years old. It is caused by aging and wear and tear of a joint, which results in the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. In a healthy joint, the ends of the bones are encased in smooth cartilage that is protected by a joint capsule and synovial fluid. In a person who has osteoarthritis, the cartilage wears away, spurs may grow from the edge of the bones and the amount of synovial fluid in the joint increases. You can make an effort to prevent it or to manage the symptoms. OA most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands and spine, but it can also affect other areas of the body. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness. You may notice a rubbing, grating or crackling sound when you move the joint. The pain is often worse when you are active, after exercising, or when you put weight or pressure on the joint, but it may feel better when you are resting. However, as OA gets worse, you may feel pain even when you are at rest. It can even wake you up at night. Eventually, bone spurs (or extra bone) may form around the joint. The ligaments and muscles around the joint may also get weaker and stiffer. But sometimes people might not show symptoms, even though an X-ray can show the changes caused by OA. How much do you really know about this common problem? Here are some popular myths. All joint pain is arthritis. There are many structures around the joints that can also cause pain in the same areas such as tendonitis, bursitis or soft tissue injuries. Evaluation by a specialist will lead to the right diagnosis and treatment. Arthritis is unavoidable with age. Based on the present lifestyle and OA cases, a study says people 65 years or older are at high risk of osteoarthritis. But there is so much you can do to prevent osteoarthritis. You can maintain proper weight, exercise regularly, rest if you have an exercise-induced injury and work with your doctor. However, injuries, obesity, family history and weak muscles also play a part in OA development and symptoms can occur at a younger age, too. Cracking knuckles cause osteoarthritis. While cracking your knuckles may lead to inflammation of the tendons, it won’t cause arthritis. Cracking knuckles is usually a nervous tic, which relaxes the person for a while. OA and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the same. Although they are both forms of arthritis, OA and RA are very different conditions with different treatments. For some people, but not all, OA is also accompanied by inflammation (swelling). In contrast, RA is an autoimmune inflammatory disease of the joints where healthy tissues are attacked, and inflammation can be debilitating. You can’t prevent OA. It’s true you can’t change some of the things that up your osteoarthritis odds like your age, genes, being born with a joint deformity or enduring an old high school running injury. But you can lower your osteoarthritis risk by staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Wearing high heels leads to osteoarthritis. If you wear very high heels daily, you may increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knees. It’s harder to stand straight when wearing high heels, and this causes a lot of stress on the knees. I don’t need to see a doctor for joint pain. Many people with osteoarthritis think there’s nothing that can be done for the pain or that surgery is the only option. That’s not the case. Osteoarthritis symptoms can be managed through a combination of exercises, weight loss, pain management techniques, alternative therapies, and nonprescription and prescription medications. If you have consistent pain at a level that interferes with your daily life, and the pain lasts more than a week, it’s time to visit a specialist. However, surgical procedures like knee, hip, and even spinal disc, removal or replacement may be offered as a last resort for painful joint destruction caused by osteoarthritis. I can’t exercise with joint pain. This is a big misconception. In fact, safe, low-impact exercises can lessen the pain and improve other symptoms. If you don’t have osteoarthritis, exercise can reduce your risk of ever getting it. Specialists recommend walking, swimming, cycling and yoga, which help keep the muscles around the joint strong and allows stretching, enabling you to maintain a full range of motions. Ice is less helpful than heat for sore joints. Both cold and heat are useful for arthritis. You do what feels good for your joint discomfort. Diagnosis of the cause of pain is very important before applying. So it’s better to take a specialist’s advice before applying ice or heat. Cold weather can cause OA. A damp, rainy climate will not cause arthritis in someone who is otherwise healthy, but it can worsen arthritis pain in someone who has it. Cold weather can make your muscles tense, but it doesn’t actually affect your joints. My job doesn’t involve repetitive motion, so I will not get OA. It’s true that those who work in construction or on an assembly line are more likely to get osteoarthritis. But if your job involves sitting all day behind your desk, you are also at risk. It’s very important to stretch and strengthen your muscles to keep your joints healthy. Also the risk increases for those who spend all week at a desk and then exercise vigorously by playing tennis, skiing or jogging during the weekend. These sudden bursts of activity can put someone at greater risk of an injury, which can often lead to osteoarthritis. There are many different treatments available for OA, including oral medications, injections, exercises and surgery. The best treatment plan for you depends on the nature of your arthritis as well as your lifestyle and overall health.