The ability to move and maintain a desirable position is a basic human need. Movement serves 2 basic purposes. First is the need to perform activities of daily living. And second, it is a source of pleasure. People perform physical fitness activities because such activities promote health and are at the same time pleasurable. These are the reasons why it is very important to treat health conditions that affect locomotion.
The Musculoskeletal system is composed of the skeleton which provides support and the muscles which facilitates movement. The joints provide flexibility within the skeletal framework. The joints are covered with fibers called cartilage that reduces friction between the joints. Degeneration of the cartilage may affect the ease of movement and may result to a condition known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is otherwise known as Hypertrophic Arthritis. It is a chronic, nonsystemic disorder of joints characterized by degeneration of joint cartilage.
Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis is among the oldest known diseases. Women are said to be affected more than men. Its incidence also increases with age. Obesity, joint trauma, genetics, age, and pressure on joints are some of the risk factors associated with this disease. Weight bearing joints such as the spine, knees, hips and fingers are commonly affected. Some of its symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. At the early stages of the disease, walking and stretching may relieve the pain. However, in the later stages, walking may even aggravate the condition because of the swelling of the joints. Fluid usually accumulates in the joints resulting to swelling. A cracking sound known as crepitus may also be heard when the joints rub with each other. This can result to excruciating pain.
Osteoarthritis can be detected by your doctor through history taking and physical examination. X-ray procedure can also detect changes in cartilage and decrease in joint space. An invasive procedure called arthroscopy can also help to detect and cure osteoarthritis. A small camera is inserted into the knee joint and a direct visualization is performed.
Treatment of osteoarthritis should start with lifestyle modification. Reducing weight can help cure this condition. Obesity is a major cause of osteoarthritis because of the excessive weight resting on the joints. It has been known that for every pound that you gain, your knees will bear extra three pounds of weight. This will eventually weaken the cartilage that cushions your joints and may result to tear or breakdown. Weight loss can be achieve through proper exercise and diet. It is a wrong notion that people with osteoarthritis must not perform physical fitness exercises. . Engaging in exercise can help to decrease joint pain and increase flexibility. Exercise is the top non-drug treatment for osteoarthritis.
There are three types of exercise that can help cure osteoarthritis. These are strengthening, range of motion and aerobic exercises. Strengthening exercises can help improve your muscle strength. This can eventually help your muscles to support the joints that are affected by osteoarthritis. Range of motion exercises on the other hand covers stretching movements. This will help to reduce joint pain and stiffness. And lastly, aerobic exercises are designed to strengthen the heart and the lungs. This kind of exercise will help you burn those extra calories in your body. This will result to weight loss, less fatigability and stress.
Another treatment of osteoarthritis is proper stress management. Stress can aggravate the condition. Yes, it could be very stressful to have an illness such as osteoarthritis. However, inviting too much stress in your body can make the symptoms worse. Stress can further tense the muscles and increase the pain. One of the most effective stress busters is exercise. You can search for a fitness exercise that you can enjoy and take away your mind from your condition. Listening to good music, talking with friends and reading an entertaining book may also help you to combat your stress.
Acupuncture has also been known to relieve the pain that comes with osteoarthritis. It can also help to improve joint function. Acupuncture is a popular Chinese practice that involves inserting needles to certain body points to relieve pain. Acupuncture can also help the body to relax which in turn relieves stress.
Massage can help soothe muscles affected by osteoarthritis. Light kneading and stroking can stimulate blood flow. This will make the muscles more relaxed and warm. When undergoing a massage, make sure to only hire massage therapists who have experience on dealing with osteoarthritic patients. Osteoarthritic joints are very sensitive and should only be handled by experienced massage therapists.
Knee pain is also one of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. One of the treatment for knee pain is thermotherapy. Thermotherapy involves application of alternate hot and cold compress over the knee. The heat can relax the muscles and increase blood circulation towards the affected joint. On the other hand, the cold compress can decrease the swelling of the joint by constricting the blood vessels. It can also help decrease the pain by numbing the nerve endings in the affected area.
There are food that are known to decrease inflammation. These anti-inflammatory food include mustard, garlic, horseradish, pickles, lemon, celery and nuts just to name a few. Adding these foods to your diet may help to reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Taking supplements that are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin can also help to cure osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin can help in the repair of worn out cartilage.
There are also medical devices that can treat osteoarthritis. These devices are called orthotics. Orthotics help support and protect the joints. By supporting the joints, the device can relieve the pressure caused by the body weight to the joints. Shoes are considered orthotics. Shoes which have soles that can absorb the weight of walking can also help to reduce discomfort.
Osteoarthritis can be a very debilitating condition. It can affect your daily routine and rob you of the joy of living a life free of pain and movement limitations. This may be the case but osteoarthritis like other health conditions can be treated. And most of all, can be prevented. Lifestyle modifications such as exercise and proper dietary intake are the key elements of the treatment of osteoarthritis. Understanding the condition more can further help you to combat the disease. Do not be afraid to consult your doctor and ask questions about your condition.
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