Osteoarthritis (OA) Â is one of the most common causes of joint pain, and is the leading arthritis in the knee. OA occurs when cartilage, a protein that cushions joints, is worn away. Then bones forming the joint begin to grind against one another, causing pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
- Age is the number one cause of OA. As we get older, our body starts to feel the wear of our movements and joint pain ensues. After age 55, women are more affected by osteoarthritis.
- Being overweight is the second leading cause of osteoarthritis. Extra pounds add extra pressure to joints from the hip down, particularly increasing the instance of arthritis in the knee.
- Genetics may cause OA to affect you at a younger age, or more severely.
- Injuries to joints, and surgery on those injuries can cause and/or exacerbate osteroarthritis.
- Constant wear and tear, from sports, a job, or a hobby like knitting can cause OA.
- Osteoarthritis can also be a symptom of another disease, such as gout or blood disorders. Osteoarthritis does not cause symptoms outside of the joint.
What Are Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis?
- Joint Pain
- Especially in the knees, hips, lower back, and hands.
- A cycle of: joint pain from use, then comfort from rest which turns into stiffness from rest.
- Morning stiffness (from rest), difficulty sleeping due to joint pain.
- Limited range of motion that can be improved with therapy/practice.
- Noise (called crepitation) when you move the joint.
- Bones spurs (growths) on the middle or tips of fingers. These usually cause no pain.
- Stiff muscles
Some may experience osteoarthritis symptoms intermittently, or may not have symptoms at all.
Reduce Joint Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis:
While thereâ€™s nothing you can do about getting old, there are plenty of ways to do so gracefully, and slow the effects of OA. These three steps to naturally easy joint pain caused by osteoarthritis have overlapping benefits:
- Eat Healthfully
- Take it easy and integrate mindfulness of OA into all aspects of your life.
While these may sound overly basic, there benefits are numerous:
- Eating right and exercising help you to have a healthy weight. Being overweight is a very preventable cause of osteoarthritis, and even if you already have OA, losing weight can slow further joint deterioration and ease pain.
- Exercising helps keep muscles strong, supporting your bones, joints, and movements. Weak muscles may be a cause of joint deterioration.
- Gentle exercises like swimming help many to reduce joint pain and stiffness.
- To really eat healthy, and get all recommended nutrients, most people have to take supplements. Supplementing with glucosamine may support joint health.
- Eating lots of fruits and veggies, as well as lean meats, will help increase the amount of anti-inflammatory foods you consume. Anti-inflammatory medicines are often used to treat osteoarthritis, getting more from natural sources canâ€™t hurt.
- Once you have osteoarthritis itâ€™s important to keep it in mind throughout the day:
- Reduce or change activities that are hard on affected joints.
- Use walking aids such as canes, braces, or shoe inserts.
- Therapy can help, make sure to integrate your therapy into our life (do the exercises while watching TV, etc.).
- If you still need pain management, some tips:
- Although acetaminophen is often recommended, it can be hard on your liver. If you have stomach troubles from pain relievers like asprin, try yogurt and other dietary supplements to counteract them.
- Look for ways to support your body with natural supplements as much as possible before increasing pain medications (which can lose effectiveness over time).
Are there any tips for reducing joint pain and stress that I missed? Post your feedback below!