The bones are the building blocks of the human body. Taking care of them results in better movement and increases your range of motion. You are much more active than the people who are couch-potato’s and do not even get up from their sofas for even menial tasks; if you keep yourself moving and exercise now and then. Failure to maintain a healthy life; for you and your bones might lead you to be diagnosed with a bone illness.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint condition where the cartilages – a rubbery material that eases the friction in your joints; between your bones deteriorate due to ‘wear and tear.’ It most commonly affects you in the joints of your body. May it be your hands, fingers, knees, toes, hips, the joints of your neck and lower back. The cartilage acts as a protective layer of tissue that separates the bones in your joints. Once that layer starts to break down, bones can rub against one another vigorously. It results in immense pain and aches, leading you to get osteoarthritis treatment. These joints become swollen and increase difficulty in moving around and about. But what causes cartilage to worsen this way?
Causes of Osteoarthritis:
Although the exact causes of osteoarthritis are not that clear, it is still an illness that is quite common. Your joints are exposed to constant damage every single day. But that is not the only reason that leads you to develop the risk of having this ailment.
- Age: This is the most prevalent cause of osteoarthritis. As you age, the danger of developing this condition increases. The accumulated damage in your bones is not good news. As you reach your late 40’s, your bones weaken, so do your muscles with an increase in your weight. As your body is growing old, it also starts to lose its power to heal, making it harder to treat osteoarthritis.
- Obesity: As previously mentioned, because of your weight gain over the years, your bones grow weak. Your bones are not in the habit of this added weight. It makes it difficult for them to function as they used to when you were younger.
- Genetics: As if environmental factors weren’t threatening enough, you can also develop osteoarthritis if it runs in your family. The genes you inherit escalate the likelihood of procuring osteoarthritis at the hip, knee, or hands.
Other than these three causes, osteoarthritis can be due to a joint injury, joint abnormalities, and poor posture. Although you know what might cause this illness, how will you know that you have it?
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
Discovering you have this bone illness is not exactly music to your ears. The symptoms of osteoarthritis vary from person to person, depending on the severity of their bones. Long periods of inactivity can lead to pain and stiffness in your joints. This discomfort tends to build up over time. Some people also feel inflammation, tenderness, swelling, and cracking sounds when they move the affected joints. All of this increases the incapability to move your joints freely, and even if you do, you would feel very uncomfortable doing so. Once you sense that you might have this complication, the next step would be to get to a doctor and get your state diagnosed.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis:
Chiropractors primarily focus on finding out if you have osteoarthritis or not by testing the extent of movement in your joints to decide if you are losing flexibility. To help diagnose it, these doctors have to figure out how severe the degeneration is. They look for signs of redness or tenderness around the joint’s area and search for any areas of swelling and inflammation. To examine further, your physician may withdraw some fluid from your joints. It is to test for indications of inflammation and to help eliminate other potential problems. This procedure helps to pinpoint the precise form of osteoarthritis treatment that is best for you.
Additionally, they use a blend of physical exams, lab tests, and indicative imaging tests from MRI scans as cartilage does not show up on X-ray scans. Hence, your physician may want to work with an MRI to get more accurate representations of the degenerating bones and soft tissues in and around the joints. It allows them to estimate the amount of damage to your cartilage and the rest of the joint. After this, they see if you require non-invasive treatments, like physiotherapy and pain killers. Whichever option you choose will only help your mobility.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis:
Even though osteoarthritis is a very troublesome disease, all hope is not lost. This optimism is due to a host of possible treatments that address the issue. The following are the options available to you:
- Regenerative treatment: A treatment currently not deemed popular yet is the progress of regenerative medicine has shown signs of improvement. This medicine is essentially working for osteoarthritis, and it has two branches. The first branch is tissue engineering, which aims to replace the damaged body tissue. The latter part is a self-healing process where your body uses injections of plasma-related products and stem cells in the affected area. Consequently, the body works to improve itself. The regulation of blood drastically increases, and your injuries are provided with increased nourishment to heal. This treatment might help your body become even better than its original state.
- Chiropractic care: If you have always been the kind of person who prefers a more natural path to healing, visiting a chiropractor may be the right decision for you. This relaxing treatment is a long term solution to your problems. It includes specific activities that help you manage your pain and increase flexibility. Your chiropractor will engage you in muscle strengthening exercises that will help you fight off injuries and ailments in the future. Encouraging your body to heal on its own also boosts your immune system, which is a bonus.
- Stem cell machine: This relatively newer technology is a treatment program that provides you better pain relief. With the help of highly energized sound waves to your affected area, this machine helps relieve you of pain, stimulates cellular regrowth, and increases mobility. This procedure is drug-free and does not put you through the invasive requirements of other treatments. The side effects are zero to none, with the blood circulation in the joints increasing significantly, which decreases the strain and stiffness in your body.
Moreover, doctors also offer other modernized procedures to choose from, such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Autologous Conditioned Serum, Micro-fracture, and Matrix-Associated Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI) treatment. However, if everything else fails, a surgical procedure is performed as a last resort. Even though it is not fitting because of the possible side effects, it is crucial to salvaging your condition.
Summing it up, you should take preventative measures to make sure you do not end up with osteoarthritis, and even if you do, you can make sure your condition does not worsen. For instance, it is advisable not to carry more weight than you can handle, trying to perform low-impact activities to keep you active and your bones moving. Using hot or cold compresses can temporarily relieve you of your pain and reduce swelling and soothe painful joints. So the next time you are feeling a little too lazy, go on a walk. It will go a long way!