Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative joint disease affecting people in middle as well as old age. Women are affected more often than men. It occurs due to the narrowing of the joint space and rubbing of the two bones of the joint against each other causing friction and pain.
The disease spans over many months and years and is not developed overnight. The gradual loss of lubrication between the joint causes steadily rising pain and stiffness which gets worse over time and can even lead to joint deformity and reduced range of motion in that joint.
Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial disease and there is not one but many reasons for its development. OA is caused by loss of the protective covering of the cartilage. The cartilage is a flexible membrane that covers the two ends of a joint and provides cushioning from the rubbing together of these joints. Loss of this stress absorbing layer causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
Risk Factor for developing OA –
- Older age
- Past injury to the joint
- Excess joint wear and tear
- Bad posture
- Dietary deficiencies of calcium, vitamin D
- Pain – usually the pain appears long after the start of the degenerative process in the joints. Pain is usually worse during periods of joint use and better during periods of rest.
- Stiffness – Stiffness of the joints on waking up in the morning and usually lasts about 5 – 30 minutes. It gets worse on periods of prolonged rest.
- Tenderness – pain on touching the joint is seen in later stages of the disease, it is accompanied with swelling and redness of the affected joint.
- Swelling – mild to moderate swelling of the affected joint.
- Crepitus – crackling sounds from the joints on movement
- Reduced range of movement – loss of flexibility
- Bone overgrowth
- Diagnosis of OA is made through the symptoms and confirmed with other investigating tests.
- Xray of the affected joint
- Blood tests to rule out any auto immune pathology.
- OA is a gradually worsening disease, but with treatment the prognosis of the disease can be improved
- The damage done to the cartilage and joint space cannot be entirely reversed, but the aim is to retain the existing function and provide pain free life.
- Exercise and physiotherapy help in regaining strength in the joint and preventing further damage.
- Treatment of OA is aimed at reducing inflammation of the joint and preventing further deterioration of the joint space.
- Exercise and physiotherapy to strengthen the bones and joints
- Weight loss to reduce the strain on the joints
- Vitamin supplementation to enhance medicine action and improve bone health.
- Steroids injections for pain management.
- Surgery may be required in cases where pain is not managed with steroids and anti-inflammatory medicines.
GENERAL MANAGEMENT OF OA –
- With lifestyle modifications there can be much improvement in the symptoms of OA.
- Regular exercise under guidance provides great improvement in OA.
- Avoid exercise during periods of acute pain. Use hot and cold fomentations alternatively to relieve pain and tenderness.
- Avoiding inflammatory food products like artificial sugars and processed foods.
- Eating a nutrient and antioxidant rich diet helps against inflammation.
- Regular sun exposure provides vitamin D which improves bone and joint health and reduces inflammation
HOMOEOPATHIC MANAGEMENT –
Homoeopathy is a holistic system of medicine which aims at treating the patient of all his ailments through an individualized treatment. In osteoarthritis there is joint degeneration which causes the pain and leads to restrictions in the daily activities of an individual. Here homeopathy works towards helping individuals lead a normal life where they can perform their regular day to day activities with ease. Homoeopathic medicines focus on retaining the present architecture of the joint and simultaneously regain the lost structure and function of the given joint. Homoeopathic medicines act wonderfully by stimulating the body’s own healing power in a gentle and lasting process to restore the strength back to the affected joints. With homoeopathic holistic system of medicine in conjunction with the necessary lifestyle modifications one can achieve a pain free life, as well as overcome any need for extensive procedures like surgeries for joint replacement. For consultations regarding osteoarthritis and other joint disease contact – firstname.lastname@example.org