Also called the degenerative joint disease, this is the mostcommon form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in thejoints wears down over time. This disease involves the entire joint includingthe nearby muscles, underlying bone, ligaments, joint lining (synovium), andthe joint cover (capsule). Most commonly, it affects one’s knees, hands, neck, hips and lower back,but it may affect any joint in the body. The disease usually progresses overtime.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joints degenerates over time. Ifit wears down completely, the bones end up rubbing against each other, causingthe joints to inflame and become painful.
However, the exact reason why this happens has not yet beendiscovered. The scientists believe it to be a combination of various factors,such as aging, heredity, injury to the joint, obesity, muscle weakness, etc.Also, other forms of arthritis may be the cause of this type, too.
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are: joint pain (which may be worseat night), stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, bone spurs (hard lumpsnear the bone), having difficulty in moving the joint, etc.
If one should experience these symptoms, it is importantthat they consult a doctor as soon as possible. In that way the treatment maybegin immediately, thus increasing the chances of successfully managing thesymptoms.
There is no cure for this condition. However, with the helpof various treatments available today, one is able to manage the symptoms andease the pain more successfully than ever before. Scientists are working dailyon improving the treatments, and, hopefully, find the final cure for thissevere condition.
Treatments available today include: medications, therapy andsurgery. The patient, after consulting with a doctor, may choose the one thatsuits him best, or combine several to achieve better results.
Medications may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(which reduce inflammation and pain), stronger painkillers, tramadol,acetaminophen, and corticosteroid injections (all of which are used to relieveone’s pain; however, there is no insurance that they reduce inflammation).Therapy may include working with a physical therapist, ortrying braces and shoe inserts. This is all done in an effort to recovermobility of one’s joints.
Surgery may include joint replacement surgery, fusing bonesor realigning bones.
The overall goal of any treatmentis early managing of symptoms, early diagnosis and surveillance of the disease,and appropriate treatment of pain. It’s also important to help people regaintheir mobility.