Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis
 
1.      What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition in which the joints become inflamed, stiff, painful and uncomfortable.  It is the most common type of arthritis in the aging population in our society.  It is due to the wear and tear process of our joints, therefore is also called degenerative joint disease.  The smooth cartilage that covers and protects the ends of our bones at the joints are slowly worn away.  As a result, the joint becomes rough and stiff and then inflammation develops.  Osteoarthritis occurs in 1 in 10 people over the age of 40, and becomes more common and present in almost all people who are 60 years old and above.
2.      How does osteoarthritis begin?
The most common reason for the loss of the cartilage is the wear and tear due to aging, but many people never notice it. It commonly develops in joints that were injured earlier in life and joints that have been overworked. It mostly affects the weight bearing joints, such as the spines, knees, hips, shoulders and elbows. The joints at the base of the thumbs as well as fingers are also common sites.
3.      What are the symptoms?
The severity of osteoarthritis varies. The common symptoms are pain, swelling, stiffness of the affected joints. Stiffness is usually worse in the morning. Pain is worse after excessive or prolonged activities, such as walking, jogging and running. Movement at the joints may be difficult and can interfere with our normal every day activities. Osteoarthritis seldom becomes a serious problem and is not a life threatening condition. However, it can cause bad pain, stiffness and discomfort and affect the joint range of movements and our physical being in severe cases.
4.      What is the treatment?
There is no cure for osteoarthritis.  There are many ways and treatment that we can make our life better  and comfortable with osteoarthritis:
 
a.   Diet:  keep your weight down to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the joints.  There is no particular diet has been proven to cause or improve osteoarthritis.
 
b.  Exercise:  keep a good balance of adequate rest and sensible exercise can be beneficial for osteoarthritis.  Moderation of walking, cycling and swimming can relieve pain, stiffness and discomfort caused by osteoarthritis.
 
c.   Walking aids:  shoe inserts, good footwear and a walking stick can help painful knees, hips and feet.
 
d.  Heat:  hot water bottles, warm baths or electric blankets can soothe the pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis.  Cold weather, especially in winter can worsen the symptoms.
 
e.   Fish oil  can help alleviate the pain and discomfort in osteoarthritis by reducing the joint inflammation in mild cases.
 
f.  Special equipment:  can help to increase your independence at home.  A wide range of inexpensive equipment and tools that can help with cooking, cleaning and other household chores.  Walking sticks, crutches and walking wheel frames can also be very beneficial for your mobility.
 
g.   Medications:  aspirin and Panadol are effective in mild osteoarthritis.  Stronger anti
inflammatory medications can be prescribed by your doctor with care and precautions, depending on your medical  history profile.
 
h.  Joint injections:  new lubricant can be injected into the joints to help osteoarthritis.  Some steroid injection can also be beneficial.  You should consult your doctor for these options of treatment.
 
i.   Operations:  can help to improve the pain, stiffness and functions of your joints in severe cases. Common operations are knee and hips replacement that can be done by your bone doctors.


2 comments:

  1. I have read a lot about osteoarthritis because my grandmother has the problem of same condition and we took her to a lot of doctors but they all gave her medicines which did give some relief for shorter duration but after some time the problem persisted. Six moths ago, a friend of mine told me about Physiotherapy North Ryde clinic where we took her and I am pleased to tell you all that she is feeling so well after just a treatment of 3 days and she is continuously coming back to her normal routine life with out having any medicine.

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