Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition around the globe.
A joint is where two bones come together. The ends of these bones are covered with protective tissue called cartilage. With OA, this cartilage breaks down, causing the bones within the joint to rub together. This can cause pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.
OA occurs most often in older people, although it can occur in adults of any age. OA is also called degenerative joint disease, degenerative arthritis, and wear-and-tear arthritis.
OA is caused by joint damage. This damage can accumulate over time, which is why age is one of the main causes of the joint damage leading to osteoarthritis. The older you are, the more wear and tear you’ve had on your joints.
Other causes of joint damage include past injury, such as: torn cartilage, dislocated joints and ligament injuries.
They also include joint malformation, obesity, and poor posture. Certain risk factors, such as family history and gender, increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
OA can occur in any joint. However, the most commonly affected areas of the body include the: hands, fingertips, knees, hips, spine, typically at the neck or lower back.
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include: pain, tenderness (discomfort when pressing on the area with your fingers), stiffness and inflammation.
OA treatment is centered upon symptom management. The type of treatment that will help you the most will largely be determined by the severity of your symptoms and their location. Often, lifestyle changes, over-the-counter (OTC) medication, and home remedies will be enough to provide you with relief from pain, stiffness, and swelling.
At-home treatments and lifestyle changes for OA include:
Physical activity strengthens the muscles around your joints and may help relieve stiffness. Aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical movement, at least every other day. Choose gentle, low-impact activities, such as walking or swimming.
As with any exercise plan, check with your doctor before beginning, to make sure it’s the right course of action for you. Here’s a few articles we have put together for you:
Gentle knee exercises
Gentle shoulder exercises
Being overweight can put strain on your joints and cause pain. Shedding excess pounds helps relieve this pressure and reduces pain. A healthy weight can also lower your risk of other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Heat and cold therapy
You can experiment with heat or cold therapy to relieve muscle pain and stiffness. Apply a cold or hot compress to sore joints for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day.