Now that everyone is living much longer, it is almost inevitable that all of us will develop osteoarthritis. This can occur in just about every joint in our bodies which can be very painful and debilitating.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is a chronic joint condition caused by wear and tear in the joints. Although the condition can impact multiple places in the body, primarily it affects those joints carrying the most weight, like those in the knees and feet.
A healthy joint has a protective tissue called cartilage. When our cartilage wears out, the bones will rub together and result in pain, tenderness, stiffness, and other symptoms. The affected joints will not move as smoothly as before, and likely will prevent you from moving effortlessly and without pain.
Our treatment techniques at Boston Prolotherapy & Orthopedics focus on restoring the normal function of the joint and to help you resume your normal activities without pain and stiffness.
Some of the causes of Osteoarthritis
Many people are concerned about getting Osteoarthritis if there is a history of it in their family. Although research has not determined a single gene responsible for the condition, sometimes it tends to run in families. The risk to develop Osteoarthritis is higher if you have joint genetic defects. Other causes of Osteoarthritis include:
Obesity increases pressure on the spine, knee, hip, so that the joints in these areas may develop Osteoarthritis. Excess weight can result in cartilage damage and symptoms such as pain and joint crackling. Losing weight will reduce the progression as well as the onset of osteoarthritis.
2. Older Age
The prospect of developing Osteoarthritis increases with age; many people over 60 have it, but with varying degrees of severity. Young people can also get Osteoarthritis, although it typically occurs after some type of trauma or because of other joint conditions.
Sports injuries such as dislocated joints and torn cartilage can result in Osteoarthritis among people of any age. If you have had an injury or surgery to a joint, you should give it enough time to heal and do your best to avoid overuse. Severe back injuries may also trigger Osteoarthritis of the spine.
How to Treat Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is not reversible, but treatment can reduce symptoms and the progression of osteoarthritis helps you resume normal activities. These treatments include:
Medications can relieve Osteoarthritis symptoms, especially pain. Oral analgesics like acetaminophen can reduce mild to moderate pain caused by the condition. If you have swelling as well, you can take over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen at the recommended doses. Some patients have also found relief from using topical analgesics.
2. Lifestyle Changes
Excess weight puts pressure on weight-bearing joints. Losing weight can minimize the effects.To start, you can follow a healthy, balanced diet while reducing sugary and high-fat foods. You can also add supplements and herbs like green tea, ginger, and fish oil. Moderate exercise is beneficial to maintain muscle strength and flexibility.
3. Prolotherapy Treatments
Prolotherapy treatments are becoming more popular for Osteoarthritis patients who want to improve the function of their joints. Physical therapywill increase your flexibility, strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, and reduce Osteoarthritis symptoms.
Dr. Franchi has had major success in treating Osteoarthritis with prolotherapy. The treatment stimulates the growth of fibrous tissue in the worn-out cartilage resulting in reduced joint painand stiffness.Dr. Franchi will administer injections once per week for five weeks, followed by an eight-week consultation by phone.
4. Assistive Devices
Supportive devices are used to reduce pressure on the affected joints. For example, knee supports will stabilize the tendons and ligaments around a joint to create stability and reduce pain. You can purchase insoles to distribute your weight more evenly or splints to provide support for a painful knee. These can be purchased at your local sporting goods stores or medical supply companies. Other Osteoarthritis patients use canes to reduce the chances of falls due to unstable joints.
Surgical interventions are sometimes needed when Osteoarthritis severely affects the joints. Surgery is often the last resort, after trying various treatments without significant success. You can get an artificial joint if you choose to undergo an arthroplasty.
What Is the Best Treatment for Osteoarthritis?
The best treatment for your Osteoarthritis will depend on factors including your overall health, age, medical and family history, lifestyle, and severity of the condition. While the condition of Osteoarthritis is long-lasting, treatment techniques such as prolotherapy should be able to help you participate in an active life style.