Osteoarthritis: What You Need to Know

Osteoarthritis: What You Need to Know
October 07 15:29 2016 Print This Article

While there are different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is deemed the most common.

Affecting millions of people the world over, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage situated at the bones’ end breaks down.

Although the condition can damage possibly any joint found in the body, it often affects the joints found in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

Fortunately, symptoms of osteoarthritis can be effectively managed.

However, the underlying process is no longer reversible.

Physiotherapy

Common Symptoms

Below are some of the most common indicators of osteoarthritis:

  • Pain – joint pain is felt during and after movements.
  • Tenderness – tenderness in the joint is felt even if only a slight pressure is applied.
  • Stiffness – stiffness in the joint is especially noticeable especially when sedentary for long periods or when waking up in the morning.
  • Grating sensation – grating sensation are felt or heard when the affected joint is used.
  • Bone spurs – extra bits of bones that feel like hard lumps when touched will form around the joint affected.

Osteoarthritis Management

Below are some of the known effective ways to manage the condition.

There are two simple yet highly effective ways to protect the joints. And both don’t even need a prescription.

Exercise regularly.

Integrating regular exercise in your daily routine will not only help patients maintain a healthy weight, it is also highly beneficial for the joints.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of exercise options available that can help strengthen the muscles of the joints.

Hiking, yoga, biking, and swimming are just some of the exercise alternatives that are easy on the body but can effectively strengthen the muscles at the same time.

Lose the excess weight.

Getting rid of the extra pounds will not only help you avoid a vast range of medical conditions, it can also efficiently take stress and strain off the joints.

Also, while no such thing as an “osteoarthritis diet” has been created yet, as a general rule of thumb, eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean meat are highly recommended.

Treatment Options

Topical Creams

Creams and gels that help with osteoarthritis can be rubbed on the affected joint.

Some of the known effective topical options include:

  • Diclofenac – for NSAIDs that come in topical form, Diclofenac is a classic example. However, this topical alternative cannot be purchased sans prescription. In addition, liver function will have to be monitored for at least 4 to 6 weeks from the time treatment started to resolve any possible side effects the soonest possible time.
  • Capsaicin – this cream is considered highly effective in relieving pain brought about by osteoarthritis. Capsaicin works by hindering the release of substance P—the one tasked to transmit pain sensation.
  • Other products containing eucalyptus, camphor, and menthol have also been proven to help ease pain brought about by the condition.

Medications

People suffering from osteoarthritis are typically given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs to help ease the pain.

Classic examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

The aforementioned medications can often be purchased without a prescription.

However, stronger NSAIDs will require a prescription.

For best results, it is recommended that you check with your doctor first rather than self-medicate.

NSAIDs can have unwanted side effects like increased risk for cardiovascular issues (i.e. heart attacks and strokes) and may sometimes cause stomach bleeding.

Surgery

Fortunately, it is reassuring to note that most osteoarthritis cases do not require surgery.

However, once the stiffness and pain becomes unbearable, surgery will most likely be recommended.

The good thing is surgery will not only effectively relieve the pain but will also help effectively improve joint alignment and enhance joint movement.

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