What Are The Main Causes Of Osteoarthritis And What Are Some Treatments

One of the most common forms of arthritis is osteoarthritis which typically affects the joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine. It happens when the protective cartilage that provides a cushion for the ends of your bones begins to wear down. When this protective cartilage wears away the bones of the joint begin to rub against one another causing pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased movement, and for some, bone spurs. Unfortunately, this disease affects millions of people worldwide and once it begins it cannot be reversed. 

Common Types Of Osteoarthritis

Knee Osteoarthritis– The knee joint is one of the most common areas to experience osteoarthritis. Though age plays a huge part when it comes to those experiencing osteoarthritis in the knee that doesn’t mean you can’t develop it when you’re young. At some point, everyone will deal with a degree of osteoarthritis but there are several factors that increase one’s risk of dealing with this degenerative disease at an earlier age. These include age, weight, genetics, gender, stress injuries, athletic activity, infection, or other previous illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis Of The Hip– This type of osteoarthritis can be challenging to diagnose as pain can appear in various locations of the body like the thigh, groin, knees, or glutes. Factors that can contribute to this type of osteoarthritis include age, joint injury, and obesity. Other prompting factors include inherited defects in the cartilage, joints not forming properly, and added stress to the hips. Because of the location, many people experience problems walking. 

Osteoarthritis In The Hands– Osteoarthritis in the hands can be very uncomfortable and feel debilitating as it can affect your ability to use your hands. There are many joints within the hand but osteoarthritis most often takes place at the base of your thumb where it meets your wrist, the joints closest to your fingertips, and the middle finger joint. Age, ethnicity, injuries, weight, genetics, and gender are all factors that can contribute to osteoarthritis.  

Spinal Osteoarthritis– Spinal osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage of the joints and discs in the lower back and neck start to break down. This can sometimes produce bone spurs that place pressure on the nerves that leave the spinal column causing weakness and pain in the arms and legs. Oftentimes this only happens as people get older but it can also be caused by injury, trauma to a joint, and genetic development.

Main Causes Of Osteoarthritis

Age is one of the most prevalent factors that contribute to osteoarthritis. Among men, those under the age of 45 are at greater risk whereas, after the age of 45, women are placed at greater risk. Obesity is also a main contributor to this degenerative disease. For those who play sports or place their joints under a lot of stress, they may find themselves dealing with osteoarthritis at an earlier age. Other main causes of osteoarthritis are heredity dispositions, bone deformities, and prior illnesses or diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. 

Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

There is no cure for osteoarthritis but it can be managed. The best thing a person can do for themselves is staying active, maintain a healthy weight and diet as well and follow a treatment plan that is geared at slowing the progression of the disease as well as improving mobility and pain. If you do have osteoarthritis you may experience pain during and after the movement of specific joints, stiffness in the joints, tenderness, loss of flexibility, inflammation, hard lumps around the affected joints known as bone spurs, or hearing a grating, popping, or crackling sound as you use your joint. If this is something you think you are experiencing you will want to talk to a knowledgeable practitioner as osteoarthritis can cause changes in the bone and deterioration of the connective tissue that holds the bones together and attaches muscle to your bones. Chronic pain, sleep disturbances, and depression can all result as a side effect of osteoarthritis. 

Non-Surgical Treatments Are Available

There are a variety of treatments available to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis. Different surgeries and medications can aid in controlling the symptoms of those experiencing this disease. Oftentimes people like to avoid surgery as surgery can come with its own side effects. However, non-surgical treatment methods are available that can offer some of the best possible results in reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis. For instance, natural knee injections can be used to successfully treat knee osteoarthritis as well as other knee conditions. At Pain Relief Partners, a substance that naturally occurs in the body known as HA is used in natural knee injections to help provide cushioning in the knee joint. It can be injected in a series of 3 or 5 depending on an individual’s insurance coverage. This method does not restore bone or cartilage but it does act as short-term prevention against additional bone and cartilage loss as well as cause the body to produce more of its own HA. The goal of this type of treatment is to reduce inflammation, increase range of motion, increase flexibility, increase knee strength, and improve knee function. An alternative method like natural knee injections not only keeps a person from having to have surgery but also provides an option outside of using painkillers which certain individuals may not prefer. Laser therapy can also be used alongside injection therapy as well as chiropractic care. These methods help individuals to recover as quickly as possible so they can get back to a more full and active lifestyle. 

Understanding the main causes of osteoarthritis and some of the treatment options will enable anyone dealing with this degenerative disease to find helpful ways to manage it. It’s important that you talk to your practitioner about the type of osteoarthritis you are dealing with as well as the treatment options available to you. Then you will be able to configure a plan that will work best for you and your individual diagnosis. 

Featured image credit @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/esthermax/

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