Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It adds pain and discomfort to movements that were once pain-free. This joint condition is difficult to live with but there are ways to manage the pain. Treatment for osteoarthritis varies depending on your symptoms and the severity of your pain. With all of these options, though, we can say with confidence that the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be reduced with the proper treatment.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints. It occurs when the cartilage between the bones wears away prematurely. The rubbing of bones causes the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Without gel-like cartilage to brace weight and make joint movement fluid, you'll experience the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis.
Treatment for osteoarthritis
We treat osteoarthritis with a variety of methods. Physical therapy has been proven effective for relieving pain caused by osteoarthritis and treating the condition itself. We do this by strengthening the muscles around your joints, taking weight and strain away from sensitive areas. We also focus on broadening your mobility, installing braces, and helping you find new adaptive ways to do things painlessly.
Medications are also beneficial for reducing pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis. Over-the-counter pills like Ibuprofen, an NSAID, will help with your pain and any tenderness around your joints. However, these forms of treatment aren't designed to be used long-term, like physical therapy is.
Topical creams offer the same pain-reducing qualities as ingested medications without as many potential side effects. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to pain medications, applying topical creams is a helpful way to get that relief without bearing the side effects.
Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat packs and ice packs help relieve your pain and any stiffness in your joints. This gentle treatment option is great for alleviating flares of pain and helping you regain your mobility. Like most medications, hot and cold therapy doesn't have the same long-lasting benefits as physical therapy, but that pain relief is paramount for your comfort.
Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
The biggest indicator of osteoarthritis is the pain in your joints. You will likely experience it at its strongest while you're utilizing an affected joint, like pain in your knees when standing. You should be able to use your joints without any pain or stiffness, and if you can't, meeting with a health professional is your next step.
Loss of mobility is another symptom we often see. While pain can cause this, it may also be caused by the inflammation around your joints and the gradual degeneration of bone.
Causes Of Osteoarthritis
Your age can lead to osteoarthritis. As we age, our bodily systems naturally begin to degenerate, including our bones and joints. Older individuals are thus more likely to experience osteoarthritis, though there are plenty of seniors who avoid it altogether.
Obesity can cause several health problems, including osteoarthritis. The extra weight and pressure on your joints can cause them to fail prematurely, even if you are only mildly overweight.
If you have other health concerns, like joint hyper-mobility, you may be more likely to experience osteoarthritis. Inflammatory diseases may make you more prone to osteoarthritis as well.