To cope with our daily needs, we must be fit and healthy in the modern-day. Any problem related to our health creates a hindrance in our day to day work. If it is related to "PAIN", slowly, we become stagnant and have movement disabilities.
If we discuss what PAIN is, then we can say it is a sensation or protecting mechanism of the body for certain external or internal discomfort. Through the PAIN, you will know specific abnormalities are happening to the human body.
The most common PAIN sensation we generally have after a certain age is due to "ARTHRITIS" in a different part of the Bones in our body.
There are different types of Arthritis, but the most common types are "OSTEOARTHRITIS" and "RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS".
Today let me discuss Osteoarthritis, which is the commonest one worldwide.
1. When it occurs: -
It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.
2. Where it occurs: -
Although Osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.
3. What are the symptoms: -
The symptoms generally happen slowly and gradually with Pain, Stiffness, Tenderness, Loss of flexibility, Bone spurs, grating Sensation, Swelling.
4. Whom it happens: -
Osteoarthritis generally happens at the older ages; women are more affected, Obese people, injuries in the joints due to sports or accidents, the people who give repeated stress on the same joint, genetically driven people, born with bone deformities, people with certain metabolic diseases like diabetes, too much iron in the body.
5. How OA can be diagnosed: -
By imaging test: X-rays: - Cartilage doesn't show up on X-ray images. Still, cartilage loss is revealed by narrowing the space between the bones in your joint. An X-ray can also show bone spurs around a joint.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): - An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage. An MRI isn't commonly needed to diagnose Osteoarthritis but can help provide more information in complex cases.
Blood tests: - Although there's no blood test for Osteoarthritis, specific tests can help rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid Arthritis.
Joint fluid analysis: - Your doctor might use a needle to draw fluid from an affected joint. The fluid is then tested for inflammation to determine whether your pain is caused by gout or infection rather than Osteoarthritis.
6. What are the treatments of Osteoarthritis: -
OA is an irreversible disease, but treatment can reduce the pain and help to move better.
A) Medications: -
Acetaminophens have shown help to some people with mild to moderate pain with OA diagnosed. But excessive use of these medicines causes liver damage.
Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve the pains in OA. Still, excessive use of NSAIDs can cause stomach upset, cardiovascular problems, bleeding problems, and liver and kidney damage. Sometimes some NSAIDs gel can apply on the superficial skin, have fewer side effects, and relieve the pain for some time.
B) Therapy: -
Physical therapy:- A physical therapist can show you exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joint, increase your flexibility and reduce pain. Regular gentle exercise that you do on your own, such as swimming or walking, can be equally effective.
Occupational therapy:- An occupational therapist can help you discover ways to do everyday tasks without putting extra stress on your already painful joint. For instance, a toothbrush with a large grip could make brushing your teeth more accessible if you have Osteoarthritis in your hands. A bench in your shower could help relieve the pain of standing if you have knee osteoarthritis.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS):- This uses a low-voltage electrical current to relieve pain. It provides short-term relief for some people with knee and hip osteoarthritis.
3) Surgery: -
Surgery may be an option when osteoarthritis pain cannot be controlled with medical management and interferes with everyday activities. Surgery is usually reserved for those people who have significant Osteoarthritis. Several techniques can be employed, including minimally invasive joint replacement techniques. Although it has risks, joint surgery today can be very effective at restoring some function and reducing pain for appropriate individuals.
4) Exercise (land- and water-based).
5) Intermittent hot and cold packs (local modalities).
6) Physical, occupational, and exercise therapy.
7) Weight loss (if overweight).
8) Healthy eating, managing diabetes and cholesterol.
9) Supportive devices such as braces, orthotics, shoe inserts, cane, or walker.
10) Intra-articular injection therapies (steroid, hyaluronic acid "gel").
11) Complementary and alternative medicine strategies, including vitamins and supplements.
I think the information mentioned above about Osteoarthritis will help us be more fit and healthy.
You can learn more about Osteoarthritis from:-
American College of Rheumatology. https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver
The Arthritis Foundation. https://www.arthritis.org/