Those who suffer from the chronic pain caused by Osteoarthritis are faced with a condition that impacts on their quality of life to an extent that both the physical pain and emotional anguish caused by the condition make normal activity almost impossible. The condition, which is caused by a degradation of the cartilage at the intersection where two bones meet at the joints affects around 30 million people in the United States alone. It is a condition that affects older people - but it can affect younger people as well.
The condition is cumulative - it grows worse over time as the bones at the joint intersection rub against each other. Osteoarthritis can also be caused by injuries to the joints. The condition can also be brought on by excess weight and even poor posture.
Unfortunately, damage to the cartilage cannot be repaired by the body itself. Cartilage contains no blood vessels - which limits any natural repair work that the body usually performs. Once the cartilage is damaged (or absent in severe cases) the ends of the bone at the joint rub against each other. This causes pain - and it can also affect the tissue surrounding the joint. Osteoarthritis usually affects hands, hips, knees and the spine (lower back). Joints become swollen, the tissue is inflamed and even while resting pain can become unbearable. Not only is the pain debilitating, but the range of movement of that affected joint is limited. The damage caused by Osteoarthritis is unfortunately not reversible, however, the symptoms can be lessened through medical intervention and treatment. There are a number of over the counter medications (for instance ibuprofen or naproxen) that can reduce swelling and assist in the management of pain caused by Osteoarthritis.
There are also other ways to reduce the effects of Osteoarthritis. One is exercise, which helps to strengthen the muscles around the joint. Low impact exercise, such as walking or swimming can be very effective in building the muscle around the joint without causing further damage. Losing weight can also reduce the pressure on the affected joint. Adequate sleep also helps reduce the effects of the condition by reducing the pressure on the joint. A warm compress can also help with pain management.
A doctor can also prescribe Corticosteroids - either given as oral medication or injected into the joint itself. There are also topical analgesics in the form of gels that can help numb the joint and reduce swelling. These are available as OTC treatments from most drugstores. Natural supplements such as fish oil and green tea have also been used to treat Osteoarthritis.
Organizations such as Move Health and Wellness can also provide physiotherapy and kinesiology services and advice that will help those who are suffering from Osteoarthritis enjoy a better quality of life. These sorts of organizations will develop a personalized plan for Osteoarthritis sufferers that fits their unique needs and lifestyle.
If you are suffering from joint pain, a visit to a professional can make all the difference in the world.