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Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a chronic disease that causes deterioration of the joint cartilage and formation of reactive new bone at the margins and subchondral areas of the joints. This degeneration results from a breakdown of chondrocytes, most commonly in the distal interphalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints, but also in the hip and knee joints.
Osteoarthritis gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists. Factors that may cause osteoarthritis include
- Being overweight
- Getting older
- Injuring a joint
How common is osteoarthritis?
There are many kinds of arthritis. The most common kind is called osteoarthritis. It affects 3,000,000 (1 in 10) Canadians. It affects men and women in equal numbers.
Causes Of Osteoarthritis
Before knowing about let us first know the cause of the disease. Osteoarthritis is commonly associated with increased age. Studies reveal that people above the age of 50 years have all chances to suffer from Osteoarthritis, but it can even happen in young age because of some internal injury caused in joints. Some of the major causes of osteoarthritis may include: Heredity: Family history of osteoarthritis may result in getting the disease. Some people have inherent defects of joints, spine or leg from either of their parents. Genetic defects may even prop up the breakage of protective layer of bones resulting in osteoarthritis.
Age factor: Studies reveal that age is primary reason for getting osteoarthritis. Wear and tear caused over a period of time may result in damaging the protective layers of bones causing osteoarthritis. People above the age of 50 years and that too women are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis.
Obesity: Excessive weight cause extra pressure weight baring joints of the human body resulting in damage of cartilage covering the joints. Obesity may also result in putting excess pressure over the spine causing osteoarthritis of spine in young age.
Injury in joints: Internal injury in the joints is secondary reason for the cause of osteoarthritis. Breakage of joint bone because of an accident or major wear and tear of joint because of certain kind of movement may result in developing osteoarthritis.
Other disease: Individuals with disease like diabetes, rheumatism and infections may develop osteoarthritis over a period of time.
What Are Osteoarthritis Treatment
While you can’t reverse the effects of osteoarthritis, early treatment may help you avoid pain and disability and slow progression of the disease. Surgery may help if your condition is already severe. If you have early stages of osteoarthritis of the hip, the first treatments may include: Resting your hip from overuse
Following a physical therapy program of gentle, regular exercise like swimming, water aerobics or cycling to keep your joint functioning and improve its strength and range of motion.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is a ‘wear and tear’ disease of the joints typically seen in the older adult over 60 years of age. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, affects the elderly in various parts of the body such as the knees, hips, hands and even the spine.
Patients are often unaware that they have osteoarthritis, since the symptoms develop gradually, only to be discovered when joints swell or there is discomfort and pain after a period of inactivity.
Choosing Osteoarthritis Medication Guide And Tips
Choosing any arthritis medication can be difficult. There are so many medications on the market and such a dire need for pain relief that it can seem like a crap shoot just trying any one of them. It is important to understand the specific causes of osteoarthritis in order to effectively consider the osteoarthritis medications available.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage between the bones degenerates. Many affected bones enlarge marginally. Unlike many other types of arthritis, this type is not marked by the inflammation of the bones. This is an important fact when choosing an osteoarthritis medication.
Analgesics are painkillers that are available primarily over the counter and are commonly used as osteoarthritis medication. They are milder on the stomach since they do not contain the ingredients common in NSAIDs used to treat other forms of arthritis. Common brands include Tylenol and Advil. Common analgesics are presented as alternatives to aspirin due to the stomach issues that can result from prolonged use of aspirin.
Arthritis cases of acute or severe pain may be prescribed osteoarthritis medication in which codeine is a major ingredient. Although this type of medicine provides quick and effective pain relief, there are some unpleasant side-effects and it should not be used for long periods of time. Codeine preparations are usually prescribed as an osteoarthritis medication when the sufferer is not able to relieve the pain by using analgesics. These medications must be prescribed by a doctor and frequent consultation should take place in order to monitor the effectiveness as well as the side effects. Many patients suffer withdrawal symptoms once this osteoarthritis medication is replaced or discontinued.
Some people attempt to self-medicate using natural remedies. Although seeking alternative treatment is recommended in any arthritis condition, it is important to discuss and disclose any medication to your physician. All drugs contain some natural ingredients and there is always a possibility of harmful interactions with any osteoarthritis medication taken. Arthritis patients should also be sure to follow doctor’s instructions as well as monitoring the time in between initiating osteoarthritis medications. Most drugs take a while to leave the body’s system and could harmfully interact even if there has been some time since the previous medication was ingested.
Of course, the most important factor of any osteoarthritis medication is how effectively it relieves the pain. The patient should pay close attention to the results of taking an osteoarthritis medication. Not only should it provide pain relief, but daily activity should be increased or at least less difficult. If the medication does not improve your quality of life, you and your doctor need to discuss alternatives.
Different Osteoarthritis Pain Relief Treatments
Looking for an effective osteoarthritis pain relief is not just merely an act of looking for helpful medications. There are numerous ways on how you can avail osteoarthritis pain treatment without running hastily to the medicine storage box. Modern doctors and physicians nowadays mostly agree that a safe and valuable pain relief must be as natural as possible, as this will avoid the occurrence of any adverse side effects.
The main problem with old pain relief remedies is that they normally have numerous side effects which are deemed harmful to the person’s body and overall health. The anti-inflammatory drug, which is the most traditional prescribed drug for the treatment of osteoarthritis, normally brings negative side effects to the body’s digestive system.
This drug has also been associated with numerous gastronomically problems and stomach ulcers. They have also been considered as one of the primary causes of liver diseases and complications. While they provide osteoarthritis treatment, they can still produce unlikely problems.
OTC Pain Relief
Other types of osteoarthritis pain relief treatments are normally found and sold over-the-counter, such as aspirin and Tylenol. These over-the-counter pain remedies also have negative effects on a person’s digestive tract. Several studies have shown that stomach ulcers, kidney and liver complications can be caused by the improper use of over-the-counter medications.
Another type of disease that has been directly linked to the overuse of pain relief drugs is stomach cancer. Although over-the-counter drugs and medicines are very suitable for effective arthritis pain relief, they can also be dangerous, if taken in bigger quantities, in alleviating chronic pains.
Doctors, in some cases, normally recommend pain killers for osteoarthritis pain relief. People suffering from osteoarthritis experience debilitating pain from time to time. Because of this, doctors usually recommend this type of cure and treatment to those who are already in horrible pain. The primary problem caused by pain killers is that it tends to make the patient build up a certain kind of tolerance for the drug, and this would usually result to an increased dosage for the patient for him to obtain greater results. Pain killers are seriously addictive. They often cause a patient to experience magnified pain whenever they try to get rid of the habit.
Muscle relaxants are other pain relief alternatives effective in combating chronic osteoarthritis pain; however, they can also have effects similar to pain medications. It is very clear that the numerous alternative methods of osteoarthritis pain relief must be deeply explored to safeguard people from the adverse side effects of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Another type of arthritis pain relief is heating treatment. A lot of patients find that whirlpool, heating pads and sauna treatments can miraculously do wonders in easing the pain of osteoarthritis. Another viable treatment for such chronic pain is a paraffin wax treatment.
Healthy Diet and Exercise
Eating the right foods and supplements and performing different body workouts for the knees and legs can greatly help a person in lessening the occurrence of osteoarthritis pain.
How to Manage Osteoarthritis Pain
Philosophy says that proper understanding is the remedy to any pain. We can use the same thumb rule to deal with the pain caused by Osteoarthritis as well. There are so many ways to manage your arthritis pain, but you can choose the most effective one’s by understanding your arthritis only.
If your arthritis is caused by obesity, then you need to lose weight and your set of regular exercises varies greatly from those with normal body weight. If your joints are damaged by an accident and you get arthritis, then you may have to wear braces and focus on different pain reducing methods.
So the first steps in dealing with Osteoarthritis pain are:
- Recognize early symptoms of Osteoarthritis such as prolonged joint stiffness/pains and consult with a doctor you trust, you may not need specialist advice at first.
- Don’t go after unproven home remedies or over the counter pain killers.
- If your doctor advises some preliminary treatment, be compliant with your treatment plan and don’t skip medications.
- The most important part of maintaining Osteoarthritis pain is regular physical exercise. Regular exercise prevents the muscle atrophy and helps to decrease joint pain.
- ou need guidance of a qualified personal trainer with regard to exercise when you have Osteoarthritis. Over-doing or straining wrong joints and muscle may result if you do not have proper guidance.
Pain relief is associated with two basic types of exercise: You can stay flexible while preventing stiffness and joint deformities by stretching or range-of-motion exercises. You can reduce the joint pain by making the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support your joints stronger. A variety of strengthening exercises will help you to do that.
Eating well and maintaining ideal body weight is another key to manage pain. Losing weight can prevent extra stress on weight-bearing joints and there by reduces pain. Protecting joints helps to reduce pain.
The following precautions can help you to have healthy joints.
- Stop any activity that causes ongoing pain.
- Replace heavy tasks with easy tasks and associate repeated tasks with intervals.
- Change tasks often.
- Pay attention to joint positioning.
- Use larger, stronger joints to carry loads.
- Don’t remain still for a long time; walk around often.
- Relaxation and distraction helps to ease pain.
- Getting enough sleep, breathing exercises, self-talk and stress reduction are some useful techniques of relaxation.
Applying heat or cold to sore joints can temporarily relieve the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Heat helps to relax aching muscles. Cold can numb the area to reduce pain.
Acupuncture and bioelectric therapy may be able to provide some pain relief. Some medical research has shown that some supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can relieve pain in some people with osteoarthritis.
Joint Health In Osteoarthritis Treatment Plan
Cartilage repair and restoration of joint health is the best plan in seeking relief from arthritis pain, especially in the case of osteoarthritis. Treatment with systemic enzymes and natural supplements that treat the arthritic inflammation and reduce the pain is a wise option.
The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis And Osteoarthritis Pain Relief Remedies.
Some patients may experience years of pain free intervals, while others spend years searching for effective osteoarthritis pain relief. The most common symptom is pain in a joint after repetitive use. For example, a person who has been hiking for years may suddenly experience pain in one knee that is not related to a fall, sprain or other injury. Examination by X-ray may show deterioration of the cartilage that prevents the joints from grinding against each other.
Joint pain typically worsens as the day wears on. Long periods of inactivity, such as taking a car trip or sitting through a movie can lead to stiffness and pain. If the cartilage cushions are completely lost, there can be pain associated with any activity or even at rest.
The most common reason for ‘total knee replacement’ in the United States is osteoarthritis. Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the spine include neck and lower back pain. Bony spurs may form along the spine irritating the nerves and causing severe pain or numbness and tingling. If the disease progresses, it can be difficult to perform simple tasks, like buttoning a shirt.
Recent surveys have shown that acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the most commonly used over the counter medication for osteoarthritis pain relief. Interestingly, acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory, and it is inflammation in the joints that causes the pain. In addition, many people are unaware that excessive regular use of acetaminophen can lead to liver damage. Other prescription and non-prescription pain relievers can have serious side effects, as well.
Clinical research has shown that regular daily supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids and an extract from the New Zealand green lipped mussel can provide effective osteoarthritis pain relief, without any detrimental side effects.
The University of Maryland’s Medical Website states:
Omega 3 occurs naturally in the diet, but most people do not obtain the proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats through diet alone. The immune system uses omega 6 fats to create compounds that increase inflammation, while omega 3 is used to make compounds that decrease inflammation.
In addition to providing osteoarthritis pain relief, omega 3 fatty acids may prevent further deterioration of the cartilage cushions. Laboratory research has shown that omega 3s inhibit the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage.
Long considered a natural part of the aging process, it now appears likely that symptoms of osteoarthritis may be avoidable. Although heredity may be a factor, maintaining a healthy weight, participating in regular moderate physical activity and increasing intake of omega 3 fatty acids, reduces the risk of developing the disease.
Osteoarthritis Treatments – Knees And Hips
Arthritis, especially Osteoarthritis, commonly understood as a degenerative arthritis, is a result of wear and tear of the joints. The large joints, hip and knee, are the most common ones involved with lower back and hands following close behind.
Hot and cold packs relieve inflammation, pain and bring down the swelling. Topical applications of NSAIDs e.g. aspirin, naproxen etc are available to ease the pain.
Capsaicin ointments are a hit with many people. Oral NSAIDs can also be taken and sometimes have to be taken regularly to combat the pain, especially in winters.
Yoga and physiotherapy go a long way in keeping the joints flexible and agile. Simple stretching and muscle strengthening exercises can be done under a yoga supervisor and you will feel the joints loosen up. They will also ease the pain and are conveniently doable in the comfort of your own home.
Altering the diet by avoiding alcohol and stocking up on plenty of calcium and fluids will help combat arthritis. Supplements like glucosamine are found to be useful too. Extreme cases might need an occasional intra-joint steroid injection, but those cases are rare with advanced medications these days.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis is an incurable disease. The osteoarthritis arthritis treatment aims at reducing the effects of osteoarthritis by reducing pain caused by the disease and by increasing the ability of doing regular movements.
Some of the treatments of osteoarthritis include:
Change in lifestyle: Instead of going in for any of surgical osteoarthritis arthritis treatment, it is observed that change in daily living may help a lot to ease the effects of osteoarthritis.
Regular fitness regime can help to reduce pain caused in joints. Usually people believe that doing exercise may increase the joint pain, but it is not true. Regular exercise helps to improve fitness level by strengthening the muscles and making you more active and mobile.
Sedentary lifestyle may lead to increased weight. In order to ease the effects of osteoarthritis, reduce weight. Improve eating habits and take up a regular fitness regime to control weight. Excess weight is hazardous for people having osteoarthritis as it puts excess pressure on joints in knee and lower back.
Medicines for osteoarthritis arthritis treatment: General practitioners recommend medicines to ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Medicines like Tylenol and Paracetamol aims at reducing the pain caused by inflammation and tenderness felt in joints and they are available over the counter.
In case of critical pain, doctors may prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen that helps in reducing inflammation and pain as a part of osteoarthritis arthritis treatment. In certain other cases doctors may even prescribe opioids like codeine and creams like Capsaicin cream which aims at blocking the nerves that carry pain messages.
Non surgical osteoarthritis arthritis treatment:
Medications prescribed for osteoarthritis may cause some or the other side effect over a period of time. In such cases some non surgical osteoarthritis arthritis treatment can equally help to ease the effects of disease.
Popular non surgical treatments include treatment with TENS – a method in which electrical pulses are used to ease from pain caused by disease, applying hold or cold packs, sittings with physiotherapist to do exercise that can help in easing the effects and using supportive equipments like shoes with shock absorbing soles, special insoles, leg braces, walking aid like stick and a splint to support damaged joint.
Surgical osteoarthritis arthritis treatment is usually recommended in extreme cases of osteoarthritis that has critically affected joints in hands and hips. Surgery may drastic change in the mobility of joints and it can help you revive from the effects of osteoarthritis, but again surgery doesn’t always guarantee a complete relieve from pain.
Major surgical treatments include
- Anthroplasty – joint replacement operation,
- Arthrodesis – operation to unify joint in its original position and
- Osteotomy – surgery meant for people in young age who cannot go in for joint replacement.
Diet is Indeed an Important Part of Your Overall Treatment
For most people affected by osteoarthritis, the idea of osteoarthritis natural remedies or diets seem like a waste of time or a fraud carefully planned by a charlatan who wants to benefit from their affliction. However, it is widely accepted by OA specialists that an effective osteoarthritis diet can provide great relief to patients from this type of arthritis.
It isn’t hard to understand why the idea of a diet for osteoarthritis raises such scepticism. Osteoarthritis patients have to deal with swelling, painful joints, movement difficulties and even stiffness on a daily basis. For these people, the thought that their situation could be eased by something as simple as a proper diet is, if not a blatant lie or at least fiction.
However, for those of you less sceptical and willing to try something different in their daily battle against osteoarthritis, this article will provide you the insight of an efficient osteoarthritis diet.
Foods to Avoid in Your Osteoarthritis Diet
While the idea of forbidden foods might have a negative psychological impact on some readers, it should help you understand that in order to overcome the symptoms of OA, it is vital to keep these foods out of your daily menu.
Nightshade plants – potatoes (except sweet potatoes), eggplants, most types of peppers (except black peppers), tomatoes and even tobacco contain Solanine, a natural poison which acts as a defence mechanism. Although not all arthritic patients who eat nightshade plants experience pain after eating. There are thousands of reported cases when, after eating potatoes, eggplants or other nightshade plants, people have experienced excruciating arthritis pain.
Other foods that contain Solanine are: artichokes, blueberries, cayenne, pickles and yeast. Alcohol, saturated fats, nuts, sugar and coffee consumption should also be reduced to a minimum in your osteoarthritis diet.
If you feel that you’re unprepared for excluding all of these foods from your diet at once, experiment by excluding one at a time and noticing any changes in the evolution of your condition. After identifying which one of these foods affects you, you can include the non-harmful ones back into your diet list.
Osteoarthritis Natural Remedies – Foods to Include
On the plus side, there are a lot of nutritious, delicious foods you can greatly benefit from once included on your list of osteoarthritis natural remedies.
Foods rich in vitamin C are often recommended for people who suffer from osteoarthritis. Poor levels of vitamin C are, in fact, a main trigger of joint inflammation and cartilage damage. Vitamin C catalyzes collagen and proteoglycans production, the primary components of any cartilage.
However, an excessive vitamin C dosage can prove to be harmful in OA. This is why it is important to consult your physician first, to find out the right vitamin C dosage for you.
Foods that contain vitamin C are: citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits), broccoli, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. Vitamin D is also beneficial for your osteoarthritis diet. Foods such as salmon, sardines, fortified milk and some types of yogurts are known for their high concentration of vitamin D. Vitamin D has an inhibitory characteristic, which slows down the evolution of osteoarthritis.
Beta-carotene rich foods should also be part of your diet for osteoarthritis. Beta-carotene inhibits the expansion of osteoarthritis through its antioxidant proprieties. Foods that incorporate the highest amounts of beta-carotene are: baked sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, oatmeal, peaches, kale and pumpkins.
Foods that contain fibre are also extremely beneficial as osteoarthritis natural remedies. They speed up weight loss, reduce the risk of medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and help in the repair of the arthritic joints.
Foods that contain high-fibre include: whole grain breads, muffins and bagels, breakfast cereals, corn, popcorn and brown rice.
Osteoarthritis is an extremely unpleasant and painful medical condition. Several treatments for OA are now widely available, such as physical therapy, medication, joint injections and even replacement surgery. However, osteoarthritis natural remedies have also proven effective in slowing down the evolution of OA and overcoming its symptoms.
Osteoarthritis Pain Relief – How You Choose One?
Today, there are many choices of osteoarthritis pain relief. Many of them may only give you temporary pain relief. Ideally, when you’re looking for osteoarthritis pain relief, choose the one that not just relieves, but can eliminate the pain, and also rebuild the soft tissue around the effected joint.
Although you can diagnose yourself, it’s better if you consult with a professional, like your family doctor or a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in this kind of disease, so you will know whether you suffer from osteoarthritis conditions or other disease.
You may know some people have been used enzyme supplement as osteoarthritis pain relief for quite a while. Perhaps you remember that arthritis is classified as inflammation conditions that occur in joint. One of the enzyme supplements that help the body to eliminate the pain and inflammation is systemic enzyme. This enzyme supplement also helps our body to regain the soft tissue and the joint changes caused by this disease.
According to the enzymes practitioners, doing systemic enzymes supplementation along with some particular exercising and healthy diets can give you much better approach for this disease or your general health and wellness. Whether you choose the short or long term pain relief, I think now you know how to choose osteoarthritis pain relief.
Pintu Mandal is involved in healthcare market research since 2010. He writes about herbal health, alternative medicine along with some other healthcare topcs.