Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Chances are, you know someone with osteoarthritis. As the most common form of arthritis, it affects nearly 27 million Americans, leaving them with pain, stiff joints, and several other symptoms. What you may not know is what causes this condition, and what exactly it entails. If you're ready to learn more about osteoarthritis and what to expect from this condition, keep reading.
Symptoms and Triggers
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that involves the breakdown of cartilage over time. As cartilage works to cushion our joints, this condition can leave patients with a great deal of pain and discomfort. Symptoms of osteoarthritis develop gradually, and typically include joint pain, stiffness, tenderness, a loss of flexibility, and a grating sensation when the joint is in use. Some patients even develop bone spurs, or bony growths formed on the existing bone. While this condition can affect any joints in the body, it's most commonly seen in the hands, lower back, neck, hips, and knees.
There are a number of risk factors for osteoarthritis, though it is typically seen as a result of the aging process. Other factors that can raise a person's risk for this condition include gender, obesity, bone deformities, prior joint injuries, certain jobs, and more. Women are more likely to experience the effects of osteoarthritis than men, and those who repeatedly put stress on particular joints are also at an increased risk.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are several treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help you manage its symptoms. There are a number of medications that can help relieve pain and discomfort, including acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and narcotics. Your doctor may also suggest therapy as an option, which can encompass physical and occupational therapy, as well as braces, shoe inserts, and more. If the symptoms are too severe for more conservative methods of treatment, your doctor may recommend cortisone shorts, lubrication injections, and joint replacement surgery.
In addition to the medical options, there are also a number of at-home ways to help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. These can include rest, exercise, weight loss, over-the-counter pain creams, and the use of hot and cold to help deal with the pain. Some patients also find relief through the use of assistive devices, like a cane. If you're experiencing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, it's important to talk to your doctor to discover what treatment plan is best suited for you.
Osteoarthritis Treatment in Astoria
For more information about osteoarthritis and how you can manage this condition, please contact us today and schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Astoria, and we can be reached at (718) 204-7550. We look forward to hearing from you.