Osteoarthritis is, evidently, a form of arthritis, and that means it happens when there is swelling and tenderness that affects one or more joints as well.
“Osteo” refers to “bones”, which means osteoarthritis is the form that reaches the closest to the bones; in this case, the cartilages that protect the bone terminations. When they are overused and get weakened, there can be muscle inflammation that will turn into osteoarthritis at some point.
Pain, stiffness, and swelling are some of the most common symptoms recurrent in hands and knees, but, theoretically, it can happen in literally every joint.
Check below for more specific information about the matter and how to prevent osteoarthritis.
What is Osteoarthritis?
It is the most common chronic joint condition, and it’s also called “OA” or degenerative arthritis.
As we get old, the cartilages in our body start to break down and they can get inflamed. Then, forms of arthritis can start to occur.
Besides that, injuries, obesity, poor posture, and repetitive movement are conditions that might lead a person to suffer from OA.
There are also other conditions that increase the chances of a person having OA:
- Parents who have developed OA during life.
- Having diabetes.
- Having other types of arthritis.
If you face any of these conditions, you might have osteoarthritis even when you’re young, so beware and start taking care of your body as soon as possible.
What are the Symptoms and Risks?
As mentioned previously, joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms, even though patients might also feel a loss of flexibility, pain, and discomfort when the members affected by the OA are pressed or forced, and, finally, easily crackable joints.
You should always observe attentively whenever you feel any of these symptoms. If you feel than once, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have osteoarthritis: you might be tired of repetitive practice, like playing the guitar, for example. However, if your joints hurt frequently, better look for help since OA is a chronic disease that, if not treated, may cause complications.
If not treated in the beginning, OA can evolve. The body won’t be able to heal the lesions in the cartilage, leading to a great loss of them and weak joints.
Then, it can result in 3 different stages:
- A slow, but progressive, deterioration over the decades that will speed you as the patient gets older;
- An accelerated deterioration in 1 year, known as rapidly destructive osteoarthritis;
- A variant evolution when at some period the OA and cartilage loss will increase quickly, but then it will stop. Then soon it comes back again before it heals and increases the damage. This form makes OA evolve little by little.
At last, don’t underestimate the power of pain. Being in pain can cause many conditions, especially in our minds, that are not related at all to the condition causing the pain. This means, indirectly, OA can lead a person to suffer from depression, cumulative stress, among others. Also, feeling constant pain is going to change the way you do almost everything: you’ll change your posture to avoid pain, will force different muscles, and then risk other parts of your body, especially the knee, the neck, and the back.
Once again: Don’t underestimate how destructive pain can be.
How to treat osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can’t be completely reversed, but treatments can reduce pain and stop it from evolving for years. However, as you grow older, the chances are the OA will go back to manifesting.
Acetaminophen and NSAIDs are effective to reduce pain temporarily. Look for a doctor who can instruct you properly on how to use them. Remember, these medications can cause allergies or have side effects or be completely ineffective when used incorrectly.
However, the most effective way to treat osteoarthritis is through physical therapies. Not only will they reduce pain, but they will increase your body’s healing capacity and help recover the damaged cartilage.
Especially chiropractic care, you can find true relief and an effective way to treat OA before you need surgeries or injections.
How to prevent it?
The following list of activities is supposed to help you learn what you can do to avoid developing Osteoarthritis. However, even if you practice them daily, nothing can guarantee you’re not developing it, unfortunately. Yet, especially if you have already identified you’re suffering from risk factors that can lead to OA, you should definitely take care of your:
- Physical condition: Avoid exercise that puts strain on your joints though. xercises such as swimming and cycling are great for the body in general and won’t risk your body to get injured that easily due to strain. Go out for walks at least twice a week as well.
- Posture: Avoid staying at the same position for too long. Also, make sure your couch and desk chair are aligned and are not affecting your neck and back.
- Lose weight: Obesity is a risk factor, and not practicing exercises and taking care of the physical condition may lead to weight gain. Besides, diabetes can make it even worse, so you should definitely take care of your eating habbits as well.
Get yourself treated
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