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Osteoarthritis “OA” is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, the tissue that cushions the joints. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. Osteoarthritis can develop over time due to wear and tear on the joints, or it may be caused by an injury or another condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment typically focuses on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are many ways to manage the condition and help people maintain an active lifestyle.
Scientists determined that our “peak biological condition” is reached by the age of 26 years old on average. So it is logical to think that from there on out it is best to make sure we preserve our physical and biological function. We all do this the best way we can, but life takes over and we begin our physiological decline. Osteoarthritis is one of those disorders that affect our joints, cartilage, bones, and other tissues. Even though Osteoarthritis (OA) aka “Arthritis” is the most common form of arthritis in this world. It comes in two (2) forms; primary osteoarthritis and secondary osteoarthritis.
As we age our body experiences pathological changes causing a loss and damage to our articular cartilage. This is considered primary osteoarthritis. Our body flags this damage as a threat and activates a defense mechanism. Your body starts to form more bone tissue making your bones in the joint thicker and possibly develop osteophytes (bone spurs). All this extra bone formation and friction causes inflammation of the synovium (membrane covering our bones) and we start to feel pain and stiffness in our joints. Secondary osteoarthritis can happen when your articular cartilage is damaged because of another disease or condition such as having a previous injury in that region, obesity, diabetes, and many other possible conditions.
There is no one cause of OA. Instead, it is usually the result of a combination of factors, including age, genetics, previous joint injury, and obesity. OA can develop over time or come on suddenly due to an injury.
The symptoms of OA can vary from person to person. They may also come and go, or they may get worse over time. The most common symptoms of OA include:
– Pain: This is the most common symptom of OA. The pain may be dull and achy, or it may be sharp and intense. It may be constant or it may come and go. The pain is typically worse with activity and relieved by rest.
– Stiffness: Joints affected by OA may feel stiff, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity. The stiffness usually goes away with movement.
– Decreased range of motion: OA can cause the joints to lose some of their range of motion. This may make it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as walking or putting on socks.
– Crunching or grinding: OA can cause the joints to make a crunching or grinding sound when they move. This is called crepitus.
– Swelling: Joints affected by OA may swell due to the buildup of fluid in the joint. The swelling may be worse with activity and improve with rest.
According to scientists and researchers, arthritis is a common joint disease in people that are 65 years old and up. Based on radiography, researchers have shown the occurrence to be as high as approximately 90% in women and 80% in men. This is a significantly high number of people in the world that are affected by arthritis. Of course, we cannot control our aging process, but we can control what we can do about it.
There is no one test that can diagnose OA. Instead, the diagnosis is typically made based on a combination of factors, including your medical history, symptoms, and a physical examination. Your doctor may also order tests, such as X-rays or blood tests, to rule out other conditions or to get a better understanding of the extent of your OA.
There is no cure for OA, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. These treatments include:
– Pain relief medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve the pain of OA. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger pain medications, such as opioids, if over-the-counter drugs are not effective.
– Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will help strengthen the muscles around your joints and improve your range of motion.
– Weight loss: Losing weight can help reduce the pressure on your joints and ease OA symptoms.
– Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace a damaged joint.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of OA, it is important to see a doctor. OA is a progressive disease, so early treatment can help slow the progression and improve your quality of life.
OA is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time. The symptoms may come and go, or they may get worse with time. OA can also lead to other complications, such as:
– Joint deformity: OA can cause the joints to become misshapen. This can lead to pain and difficulty moving the joint.
– Musculoskeletal problems: OA can cause problems with the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
– Osteoporosis: OA can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to become weak and fragile.
– Disability: OA can make it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as walking or climbing stairs. In severe cases, OA can lead to disability.
OA is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time. There is no cure for OA, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. With treatment, most people with OA are able to maintain a good quality of life.
There is no sure way to prevent OA. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing the condition, such as:
– Maintaining a healthy weight: Excess weight puts extra pressure on the joints, which can lead to OA.
– Exercising regularly: Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve range of motion.
– Avoiding injury: Joint injuries can increase the risk of OA.
– Taking care of your joints: If you have a job that requires repetitive motions or heavy lifting, take breaks often and use proper body mechanics to avoid joint injury.
We are a premium physical therapy clinic offering one-on-one therapy in a private luxury treatment suite to help you get better as quickly as possible.
Physical therapy is a common recommendation for those suffering from osteoarthritis, as it can help to reduce pain and improve joint movement. Physical therapy helps osteoarthritis patients by providing therapeutic exercises to strengthen the muscles that support their joints, increasing flexibility and range of motion. Additionally, physical therapists can provide instruction on proper body mechanics and posture, which can decrease the stress placed on affected joints. Some physical therapy treatments such as manual therapy, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound may also be used to reduce inflammation or provide pain relief.
Exercise is especially important for osteoarthritis sufferers since it helps to maintain balance in the musculoskeletal system. A physical therapist may recommend specific exercises such as stretching, aerobic conditioning, strengthening exercises, or gentle low-impact movements. These exercises can help build muscle strength and decrease tension in weakened areas while improving flexibility and overall joint function. It’s also important to note that even though osteoarthritis can lead to joint stiffness and swelling, it’s still necessary to exercise regularly as this will help prevent future damage and keep joints healthy.
In addition to exercise, physical therapists may also recommend lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy weight or using assistive devices such as a cane or walker when needed. Maintaining an active lifestyle with regular exercise is essential for anyone with osteoarthritis because it helps keep joints flexible and strengthens muscles around them so they can better withstand the stress of daily life. Similarly, losing extra pounds reduces the strain put on your joints while walking or doing other activities, helping you remain mobile even if osteoarthritis has caused some degree of limitation in mobility.
Finally, physical therapists may suggest applying hot/cold packs or taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications before beginning any type of physical activity. Applying heat or cold before exercising relaxes stiff muscles while reducing swelling; meanwhile taking ibuprofen prior to exercising prevents inflammation from occurring during activity and reduces any existing pain after the activity has been completed. In order for physical therapy treatments to be effective at managing osteoarthritis symptoms, however, consistency is key; attending scheduled appointments regularly is essential in order to maximize the benefits of this treatment option long term.
Our team of experienced physical therapists will help create an individualized treatment plan that is tailored specifically to your needs and goals. With our guidance and support, you can be sure you are getting the best possible care for your osteoarthritis and get back on track as soon as possible! Contact us now to get started.