Nearly 100 different types of arthritis have been reported, and the most common type is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA), also called as degenerative joint disease, is a common chronic condition of the joints typically seen in middle-aged to elderly people. It occurs when the cartilage between your joint bones breaks down leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. OA can affect any joint, most commonly targeting the knees, hips, lower back, neck and the finger joints. This may be a result of mechanical stress or biochemical changes in the body. OA may also occur with another type of arthritis such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
Normally, the ends of your bones are covered with firm, slippery tissue, called cartilage. It provides a smooth and gliding surface for the joint movement. It acts as a cushion and shock absorber between the two bones. Osteoarthritis may cause breakdown of the cartilage, wearing of underlying bone, and development of spurs. Sometimes, your body is able to repair the damage and won’t cause pain and other symptoms. But in severe osteoarthritis, loss of cartilage occurs and causes pain and stiffness of the joint. Early diagnosis and treatment slows the disease progression and helps to manage the symptoms.
It is estimated that osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, affecting nearly 15 million adults every year in India.
Pain is the main symptom, often described as a sharp ache or burning sensation in the associated muscles and tendons. It may get worse by prolonged activity and is relieved by rest.
You may also experience muscle stiffness especially in the morning which may last for less than 30 minutes or until the daily activities are started. In some patients, the crackling sound is felt when the affected joint is moved or touched. Other signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include loss of flexibility, grating sensation, and bone spurs.
Consult the doctor immediately when you have joint pains or stiffness that doesn’t go away.
OA is mainly caused by “wear and tear” of the joints. It occurs when the cartilage gradually deteriorates. However, there are certain factors that are attributed to OA.
Your doctor initially examines the affected joint thoroughly, and checks for tenderness, swelling, redness, and range of motion of the joint. If OA is suspected, then the doctor might suggest further tests like:
Osteoarthritis is the chronic, long-term disease and hence there is no cure. However, there are several osteoarthritis treatment options available to manage the symptoms.Medications
You can easily manage the symptoms of OA just by adopting the following lifestyle changes.