Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that leads to wear off of protective cartilage which acts as a cushion at the end of the bones or at the joints. This causes pain and stiffness of the joints as it forces the joints to rub together. Any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis but knee, hip, spine and hands joints are most commonly affected joints. Osteoarthritis is mostly prevalent among older people. Osteoarthritis is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, degenerative arthritis and degenerative joint disease. The disease is more common in women as compared to men and almost which affects around 15 million people in
India every year.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
The major cause of osteoarthritis is joint damage due to breakdown of cartilage in the joints. The disease happens over a period of time with age. Other reasons contributing to the disease are- ligament injuries, joint displacement, obesity and poor posture.
Conditions like gout, diabetes, obesity, repeated trauma, hormone disorders and hemochromatosis can cause secondary osteoarthritis (caused due to other condition or disease).
Inflammation of joints
Problem in joint movement
Diagnosis and Treatment
Osteoarthritis is a slow-developing disease that is tough to diagnose until you experience the symptoms. The doctor will require a detailed history regarding the onset of the symptoms and the medicines consumed by the patient on a regular basis, if any. Further, the doctor may prescribe tests like-X-rays, MRI and CT scan. Blood test and other diagnostics can be prescribed to rule out rheumatoid arthritis condition or gout as there is no blood test to rule out osteoarthritis.
Managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis can help treat the disease. Over the counter medication, exercise and lifestyle changes can effectively treat the condition. For instance:
- Maintain your weight through exercise and balanced diet.
- Get adequate amount of rest.
- Try the heat and cold therapy to relieve muscle pain.
- Further towards the treatment, the doctor may prescribe Oral analgesics, Topical analgesics, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Cymbalta and Corticosteroids.
- Alternative treatment like- massage therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy are also beneficial. Consuming fish oil, ginger, green tea and epsom salt baths are some other home remedies to treat the symptoms.
- Regular Exercise
- Stretching and warming up
- Use of kneeling pads for putting less pressure on joints
- Managing your weight and obesity
- Avoid carrying heavy loads
- Maintain good body posture