Osteoarthritis: Most Common Type of Arthritis

By: Jody Smith

Of all the many types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common. Netdoctor.co.uk reported that about 80 percent of people over 50 years of age may end up with osteoarthritis.

As with all kinds of arthritis, osteoarthritis can cause joint swelling, stiffness and pain. The usual locations for this discomfort are the hands, hips, knees and spine.

Cartilage normally coats the ends of the bones of a joint, making any movement smooth and pain-free. But osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to deteriorate, allowing bones to rub against each other, and eventually leading to joint damage.

As the cartilage continues to thin, the joint capsule thickens, and synovial fluid, which is the joint's lubricant, increases. This process can cause swelling in the joint.

Bony spurs may also form, which causes tissue to become inflamed. These bone spurs occur as new bone appears along the edges of the bones, in a bid to repair existing damage.

If you have osteoarthritis, you deal with stiff and sore joints which may improve as you are more active, and worsen when you are sedentary.

Joints hit with osteoarthritis can become swollen, experiencing grating when moved, and have less range of movement than they did previously.

Osteoarthritis is not passed on genetically. If you have previously had a joint injury, you may later develop osteoarthritis. As you age, your risk for osteoarthritis increases.

If you are overweight, this is burdening your joints, and your risk for osteoarthritis increases. If you can lose some weight, your joints will thank you.

If you live with osteoarthritis, and if you have a job requiring repetitive movements, or activity that causes stress on your joints, it's helpful to change your work habits. If necessary, consider changing jobs for the sake of your joints. Sometimes simple changes like rearranging a work area or replacing a chair can bring some relief.

Moving around may be the last thing you want to do when you are suffering from osteoarthritis pain. But activity can benefit those with osteoarthritis that is mild or moderate. An exercise program involving resistance training or aerobics can ease some pain and stiffness. More freedom of movement and less pain in day to day tasks may also be experienced.

For temporary pain relief, applying heat or (although it may seem contradictory) sometimes applying cold packs, may be of benefit. Sleeping on a firm mattress, swimming in a heated pool, using braces, joint supports or insoles, may also bring relief.

Analgesics like aspirin or ibuprofen may decrease pain levels. Capsaicin applied topically may help. Corticosteroid infections or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are other options.

To find out if you have osteoarthritis, see your doctor, who will want to do an examination and take your medical history. An X-ray and laboratory blood tests may be performed. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend joint replacement surgery.

Sources:

Osteoarthritis

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/osteoarthritis.html

What is osteoarthritis

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/osteoarthritis.htm

Osteoarthritis - Lifestyle Changes

http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_lifestyle_measures_managing_osteoarthritis_000035_8.htm

Bone spurs

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bone-spurs/DS00627/DSECTION=causes

SHARE THIS STORY WITH YOUR FRIENDS!

More Sharing Options

X
  • Facebook

    SHARE NOW!

  • Twitter

    SHARE NOW!

  • Email

    SHARE NOW!

  • Pinterest

    SHARE NOW!

  • Tumblr

    SHARE NOW!

  • Google+

    SHARE NOW!

  • Reddit

    SHARE NOW!

  • Flipboard

    SHARE NOW!

  • LinkedIn

    SHARE NOW!

  • StumbleUpon

    SHARE NOW!

  • Digg

    SHARE NOW!

  • We Heart It

    SHARE NOW!