Health

All About Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Cure

Arthritis is a condition characterized by changes to the biomechanics of a joint. When it comes to arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most prevalent.

Definition 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis (degenerative arthritis), degenerative joint disease, and arthritis.

A joint is a point where two bones meet. There are two types of cartilage: articular and osteoarticular. Osteoarthritis (OA) damages this cartilage, causing the bones in the joint to rub against each other. Anxiety, discomfort, stiffness, and other signs and symptoms may result.

When a person gets aged, they are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually progresses slowly and over a long period, but this is not always the case. Bony changes, tendons and ligaments degeneration, and cartilage breakdown occur due to joint inflammation and injury. 

Osteoarthritis symptoms

Osteoarthritis signs and symptoms often appear gradually and in only one or a few joints. The following symptoms are frequently associated with osteoarthritis:

  • Using the joint can cause discomfort, which may enhance with rest. People with advanced cancer may experience more pain at night. Pain may be localized or widespread.
  • Stiffness in the morning or stiffness following a period of rest lasting less than 30 minutes in the majority of people.
  • Injuries to the joints can reduce joint mobility.
  • An increase in swelling around the joint, especially after it has been subjected to a significant amount of activity or use.
  • Disruption in the joint’s ability to move. 
  • A sensation of instability or slackness in the joint.

Different joints can be affected by osteoarthritis symptoms. As an illustration, consider the following:

  1. Hands

Some finger joints can become enlarged or reshaped over time.

2. Knees

A grinding or scraping noise may be heard while walking or moving. The knee can buckle as a result of muscle and ligament weakness over time.

3. Hips

It’s possible to experience pain and stiffness in the hip joint and other parts of the lower body. The pain of arthritis in the hip can sometimes spread to the knees, and this can be a symptom of the disease. You may eventually lose the ability to move your hip as far as you once could.

4. Spine

Neck and lower back pain and stiffness are common complaints. Sprains, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and other problems can arise as the spine ages and changes.

As your symptoms worsen, you may find it increasingly difficult to perform activities you once took for granted, such as stepping up, using the toilet or a chair, gripping a pan, or crossing a parking lot.

Osteoarthritis pain and other symptoms can make you tired, sleepless, and depressed.

Causes of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a result of joint damage. Age is a major cause of the deterioration of joints that leads to OA, as this damage accumulates over time. Your joints have been subjected to more wear and tear as you’ve gotten older.

In addition to these, joint damage can be caused by:

  • injuries from the past, such as cartilage tears, dislocations of joints, and sprained ligaments
  • malformation of the joint
  • obesity
  • bad body posture 

You have a greater chance of developing OA if you have certain risk factors. Included are the following:

  • having a family member with the condition, such as a parent or sibling
  • women who have passed menopause
  • having a job that requires a lot of kneeling, climbing, and lifting
  • the existence of a previous injury
  • obesity, or being overweight
  • medical conditions that affect joint health, like diabetes or various types of arthritis

If you have OA in one area of your body, you’re more likely to develop it elsewhere. 

Risk factors 

Osteoarthritis can be exacerbated by the following risk factor:

1. Damage to the joints. 

Osteoarthritis can be exacerbated by sports-related or car accident-related injuries. Osteoarthritis can be caused by even long-ago injuries that appear to have healed.

2. Stress on the joint due to overuse. 

It is possible to develop osteoarthritis in a joint that is subjected to repeated stress in a job or sport.

3. Genetics. 

Osteoarthritis can be inherited.

4. Anomalies of the bones. 

Some people can be born with abnormal joints or cartilage.

5. Age-related.

Osteoarthritis is more likely to occur as a person gets older.

6. Sex. 

Osteoarthritis affects women at a higher rate than men, but the reason for this is unclear.

7. Obesity. 

Osteoarthritis is exacerbated in various ways by obesity, and the heavier you are, the greater your risk. Weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees, are put under more strain when you gain weight. Also, fat tissue produces proteins that can cause joint inflammation.

8. Diseases of the metabolic system. 

Among these are diabetes and an iron deficiency disorder (hemochromatosis). 

Treatment for osteoarthritis

OA treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms. The severity and location of your symptoms will have a significant impact on the type of treatment that is most effective for you.

You may be able to get relief from pain, stiffness, and swelling with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.

Medications

There are numerous OA medications available to help alleviate symptoms. Included are the following:

  • Inhalable analgesics. Pain can be reduced by taking acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
  • Corticosteroids. To take these prescription medications, you must swallow the pills. They can also be injected directly into a joint for those who prefer this method. For instance, cortisone and triamcinolone acetonide both fall into this category (Kenalog-40, Zilretta).
  • Cymbalta. Duloxetine (Cymbalta), an antidepressant that the FDA has approved for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, may be prescribed by your doctor.
  • Analgesics topical treatment. Creams, gels, and patches are all forms of these OTC products. Help to numb the joint area, which helps to alleviate pain, especially for those with mild arthritis discomfort.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

In the beginning, your doctor may recommend OTC remedies. You can easily make an appointment and  talk to a doctor online.

Manage weight

Obesity can put undue stress on your joints, resulting in discomfort and even pain. Losing weight is an effective way to alleviate stress and discomfort. Another benefit of maintaining a healthy weight is that you’re less likely to develop health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

Exercise

Joint stiffness may be alleviated by increasing the strength of the muscles surrounding your joints through regular exercise. Every other day, try to get in 20 to 30 minutes of exercise. Avoid strenuous, high-impact activities like running or weightlifting. Tai chi and yoga, on the other hand, can improve joint mobility and alleviate pain. 

Proper sleep

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Relaxing your muscles can help reduce swelling and inflammation. You can also better manage pain by getting enough sleep at night.

 Heat and cold therapy

Muscle pain and stiffness can be relieved by experimenting with heat or cold therapy techniques. Compress sore joints with a hot or cold compress for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day.

Natural remedies

Alternate therapies and a nutritional supplement may help to alleviate symptoms like joint pain and inflammation. There are several possible aids, such as:

  • herbal tea 
  • ginger
  • fish oil

The following are some of the other treatment options:

  • physical therapy
  • massage
  • acupuncture

Before using any herbs or supplements, be sure to discuss them with your physician. Make sure that they are safe, effective and won’t interfere with other medications you are currently taking read more.

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