Osteoarthritis: What You Need to Know About It and How It Can be Managed

There are many different kinds of arthritis, which involves the inflammation and stiffness of the joints. It is said that the most common form of this painful and debilitating condition is osteoarthritis. Although it may strike just about any joint in your body, osteoarthritis commonly affects the hips and knees, as well as the small joints in your hands.

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Causes and Risk Factors

Osteoarthritis causes damage in and around the affected joints. Experts do not really know what causes this to happen. However, there are a few things that may influence your likelihood of developing this condition.

For instance, age is said to be a risk factor. It’s not uncommon for people aged 45 years old and above to suffer from osteoarthritis. However, this does not mean that younger people are exempted from having it. Injury to the joint because of an accident or engagement in sports may actually cause osteoarthritis. The same is true if you are obese due to the sheer amount of weight that your joints have to support, in particular weight-bearing ones like the hips and knees.

Signs and Symptoms

The primary signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are inflammation and stiffness of the affected joints. Due to this, moving them can be very difficult, causing you to abstain from performing certain physical activities. In mild to moderate cases of osteoarthritis, the symptoms may come and go. However, they may be continuous in severe cases.

It’s not unlikely for the joints afflicted with the condition to appear knobby, which is another common sign of osteoarthritis particularly if it’s affecting the small joints of your fingers. You may experience an increase in stiffness and pain especially if you have not moved your joint for a long time, such as in the morning. Each time you move the affected body part, you may encounter a grating sensation or crackling sound in the joint.

Medical Treatments for Osteoarthritis

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A cure for osteoarthritis is yet to be found by medical experts. However, there are certain medications that may be prescribed to the sufferer in order to help attain relief from the signs and symptoms. One very popular remedy for the problem is the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs.

The problem with NSAIDs is they tend to yield unfavorable side effects most especially when they’re taken for a long time period. Some of these side effects include increased blood pressure, indigestion and ulceration of the stomach. Surgery may be warranted as a last resort. The purpose of this medical treatment is to strengthen the damaged joint. There are also instances when surgery is performed in order to have the affected joints replaced.

Osteoarthritis Home Remedies

There are many different home remedies available for osteoarthritis that can help you attain relief from joint inflammation, pain and stiffness. Doing some lifestyle changes is one of the most important solutions available for osteoarthritis.

• Perform mild to moderate exercise on a regular basis. It is a great idea to strengthen the joints as well as the surrounding tissues and muscles in order to decrease the impact of the condition. According to some experts on osteoarthritis, performing mild weight training, moderate cardio and aquatic exercises can be very helpful.

• Maintain an ideal weight. Because osteoarthritis commonly strikes weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees, it’s important to keep unwanted pounds at bay. Weight control can actually help in slowing down the progression of the condition, say the pros.

• Opt for a hot compress or an ice pack. The application of heat can provide relief from pain because it promotes blood circulation and relaxes the muscles. On the other hand, an ice pack can help lessen inflammation because it causes the blood vessels to constrict. The use of an ice pack is also very good at relieving joint pain.

• Go for an anti-inflammatory diet. It’s a great idea to regularly consume foods that possess anti-inflammatory properties if you want to attain relief from osteoarthritis. Garlic, onions, mustard, parsley, celery, pickles and lemons are said to help ward off inflammation. You should also consume sufficient amounts of fish, nuts and seeds as they are wonderful sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.

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