Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis and a cause of permanent disability worldwide. It is the type of arthritis that affects the body joints of a person such as the joints in the hands, neck, lower back, knees or hips. It occurs due to the wearing down of the protective tissue at a joint. Further, Osteoarthritis often lead to cartilage degradation, the generation of wear particles, thickening of synovium, subchondral bone alterations and the growth of osteophytes at the margins of the joints.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
The symptoms of Osteoarthritis are most apparent after the onset of the disease. However, it includes a range of symptoms given here under:
• Pain: The patient feels a persistent pain in the affected areas during a movement.
• Stiffness: Joint stiffness follows inactivity or right after waking up from sleep.
• Tenderness: The patient feels joint tenderness upon exertion of pressure on the affected area or near it.
• Loss of flexibility: Since it affects the joints, the patient might undergo loss of flexibility and might feel the inability of movement of the joints to its full capacity.
• Grating sensation: The patient senses a grating sensation upon the usage of their joint muscles. This might follow with a popping or crackling sound from the affected area with each movement.
• Bone spurs: The patient notices a bony growth that develops on the edge of a bone. This might feel like thick bumps and can form encompassing the affected joint.
• Swelling: The patient might notice sudden swelling around the joints. This occurs due to soft tissue inflammation around the joint.
Causes of Osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis occurs due to the progressive loss of articular cartilage. In simple words, it means that the occurrence of this disease takes place when the protective tissue surrounding the edge of the bones wears down. However, certain factors are said to increase the risk of developing Osteoarthritis in a lifetime. The factors are age, gender, joint injury, physical exertion or sports, obesity, sex, race and ethnicity, genetics, nutrition, smoking and injuries/trauma to the joint.
The treatment of Osteoarthritis includes different medical procedures ranging from medication to therapy to surgery or other procedures.
Medication such as Acetaminophen, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta) are said to relieve the patients from the chronic pain attached to the disease along with other symptoms associated with the same. Whereas, therapies are of two types namely Physical therapy and Occupational therapy. Both these therapies assist the patient in regaining the movement of their joint muscles with ease and without pain or any other disturbances. Surgeries are suggested when these conservative treatments do not produce the expected results. These methods of treatment often include injecting, certain injections to relieve the pain or re positioning of the bones. While at the extreme case the patient may opt for a joint replacement.