Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that causes stiffness and pain in the joints. It can be difficult to control, but you can minimize pain and maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper treatment and pain management techniques.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that attacks cartilage, the rubbery material that cushions bone ends and absorbs shock in a healthy joint. It is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease and makes the cartilage stiff and less elastic, which increases the likelihood of cartilage damage. When the cartilage begins to wear away, it reduces its ability to function properly, and pain results as the tendons and ligaments in the joint stretch. Eventually, the cartilage may wear away enough that the bones in the joint rub against each other. Osteoarthritis can affect most joints in the body, but it is most common in the hands, feet, knees, hips, neck, and back.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Stiffness in the joint
- Joint aching
- Pain after periods of overuse or inactivity
- Bony enlargements in the joint that may or may not be painful
- Loss of joint motion
Coping with Osteoarthritis
Managing pain and increasing joint mobility are two of the main goals when dealing with osteoarthritis. The following pain coping strategies can be used to reduce joint pain.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
- Exercise: low impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, and bicycling, are a great way to reduce pain, strengthen the joint, and increase flexibility.
- Weight control: extra weight puts additional stress on joints, so maintaining a healthy weight helps relieve osteoarthritis symptoms. Even losing as little as 10 extra pounds can take extra stress off your joints!
- Hot and cold therapy: the application of heat promotes blood flow and circulation and the application of cold can reduce inflammation and swelling – both which help joint stiffness.
- Massage: a massage may help increase blood flow and warmth, and is a great way to help you relax and find relief from the pain.
- Joint protection: take steps to protect your joints, like wearing supportive shoes, alternating between sitting and standing, or wearing proper joint support.
- Stretch: stretching helps increase range of motion in your joints.
Osteoarthritis treatment includes a number of approaches designed to control pain and improve joint function. For instance, we offer Alpha-2-Macroglobulin (A2M) for osteoarthritis and inflammation. This non-surgical treatment utilizes A2M protein molecules to inhibit the breakdown of cartilage. These protein molecules are found naturally within the body and attach themselves to destructive proteins in order to remove them from the joint. A2M ultimately boosts the natural healing process by stopping cartilage deterioration as well as support tissue growth to rebuild the structure and strength of the joint.
Always work with your doctor or an orthopedic specialist when seeking osteoarthritis treatment. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, come by and see us. We can help you manage the disease and live a healthier life. Call 806.350.BONE (2663).