Periodic aches and pains are common, but ongoing pain and discomfort in your joints may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Osteoarthritis is similar to the traditional form of arthritis that damages your cartilage and joints, but it occurs in a more involved, ongoing manner over time. Not only will this degenerative disorder cause discomfort in your joints, but it will also limit your mobility, affecting your daily life and the ability to complete normal, mundane tasks. If you are one of the 25 million Americans suffering with osteoarthritis, understanding the condition is key to receiving the proper treatment. Using this guide, you will learn the signs of this disorder and find the best option for treating your pain.
Ooohs and Ahhs of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis causes inflammation in your joints, but it can also weaken and damage your surrounding cartilage. In most cases, this results in discomfort in multiple areas of your body including the joints, muscles, and bones. Osteoarthritis can create the following issues:
- Pain – Osteoarthritis affects the hands and weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, feet, and back. However, you will most likely experience pain in any joint of the body, which can radiate to surrounding cartilage, tissue, muscle, and bone.
- Weakness – The increased pain may weaken your joints and muscles.
- Stiffness – Patients with osteoarthritis will feel stiff after waking or moving from a long rest. This can create difficulty when getting up from your bed or chair.
- Swelling – Arthritic joints may swell, resulting in discomfort. This swelling can become so severe, your joints may appear deformed.
- Popping, Clicking – While surprising to hear, the inflamed, swollen joints may pop or click when attempting movement.
If you are experiencing the above ooohs and ahhhs and believe you are suffering with osteoarthritis, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor immediately. Specialized testing to determine the severity of your arthritis will be necessary.
Your doctor will ask a series of questions to learn more about your pain and lack of mobility. A physical exam of each joint will occur to inspect for swelling, deformity, and their various degrees of mobility.
Treating your Osteoarthritic Pain
If your primary care doctor believes you have osteoarthritis, you will need to see a rheumatologist, who offers experience and knowledge in treating arthritis and other joint, muscle, and bone disorders.
In most cases, ibuprofen will be prescribed to relive some of your pain. This anti-inflammatory medication reduces inflammation, swelling, and eases pain, but it will not heal your osteoarthrosis.
Fortunately, holistic treatments are available to reduce your pain and increase your mobility. Here are a few options to consider:
- Physical Therapy – A physical therapist, such as one from a place like Dynamic Rehabilitation Services, can design an exercise plan that will relieve pain, strengthen joints and muscles, and increase mobility. Physical therapy involves stretching, weight training, cardiovascular exercises, swimming, and walking, which can all restore the strength and function of your joints and surrounding cartilage. Physical therapist is most effective in patients who suffer with osteoarthritis in the knee.
- Hydrotherapy – Centered around the use of hot or cold water, hydrotherapy is also an effective option for reducing the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Consider using a hot or cold compress on swollen joints or soaking in a Jacuzzi tub for a few minutes each evening to reduce inflammation or ease pain.
- Weight Loss – Being only 10 pounds overweight can increase the pressure of your knee joint an estimated 30 to 60 pounds with each step. If you are overweight and suffer with pain and discomfort due to osteoarthritis, work with your doctor and physical therapist to reduce your weight. Following a healthy diet and exercise plan will reduce your weight, improve your health, and reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The various ooohs and ahhhs of osteoarthritis may be uncomfortable, but the lack of mobility and overall fatigue the disorder causes can wreak havoc on your life. Using this guide, you will understand osteoarthritis and understand how to improve your condition.