What is osteoarthritis?
Sometimes also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most chronic conditions. OA can affect any joint of the body. But mostly the parts that it affects are knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints and finger joints.
Normally the joint is firm; elastic material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones hence protects rubbing it from each other. The people who are suffering from OA the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and also facing problem moving the joint. With time OA gets worst as it develops growth called spurs. Bits of bones or cartilage which gets chipped off and floats around in joints. In the final stage of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rub against bone leading to damage and more pain.
The process of OA cannot be reversed, but symptoms can be effectively managed with a change in the lifestyle, physical therapy, medication, and surgery. As the doctors generally suggest that achieving a healthy weight is the most important way to treat OA.
Primary pain can be helped by certain medication including
- Acetaminophen: it is effective for people with OA who have mild to moderate pain. But taking more than recommended dosage can cause liver damage.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: over the counter drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium taken at recommended doses, typically relieve osteoarthritis pain. Stronger dosage may slightly reduce inflammation along with relieving pain. But it has its own side effects on stomach upset, cardiovascular problems, bleeding problems and liver and kidney damage.
- Duloxetine: normally used as an antidepressant this medication is also approved to treat the pain caused by AO.
- Physical therapy: a physical therapist can work with you to create an individualized exercise program. It strengthens your muscles. A regular walk and swimming can be equally effective.
- Occupational therapy: an occupational therapist can also help you discover few ways to do your daily activity in a less stressful way.
- Yoga: many people use these therapies to reduce stress and it’s also proven that yoga helps in reducing pain caused by OA. Avoid moves which cause pains in your joints.
It involves following procedures like
- Cortisone injections
- Lubrication injections
- Realigning bones
- Joint replacement
Surgical methods are only adopted after it’s proved that another treatment is not affecting the patients and the surgical procedure is required.