Arthritis is pain and stiffness caused by inflammation of the joints. The most common type treated by our doctors at OAH is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the flexible tissue at the ends of bones slowly wears down, usually occurring in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips.
Arthritis can be triggered by several factors including:
- Trauma to a joint
- Repetitive motion
- Cold weather
- A change in barometric pressure
- Weight gain
Dr. Jonathan Ramin says, “According to the CDC, nearly 60 million US adults have arthritis, and nearly half of those are limited in their usual activities as a result.”
Along with stiffness, pain, and swelling of the joints, osteoarthritis can cause fatigue, depression, low-grade fever, and a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or disease. Osteoarthritis is not just a disease that affects the elderly, symptoms can start happening as early as the late 30’s to early 40’s.
Here are some treatment options for Osteoarthritis:
- Maintaining a healthy diet and weight to reduce pressure on joints. According to a study published in 2014 by Doctors H. Bliddal, A. R. Leeds, and R. Christensen, losing as little as 10 lbs. can decrease the progression of knee osteoarthritis by nearly half.
- Physical and occupational therapy is the first avenue doctors will try for pain management. A physical therapist can create an exercise program that will focus on strengthening bones and muscles without overdoing it. Low-impact activities that do not put stress on the joints are extremely beneficial for those suffering from arthritis. Swimming, walking, cycling, yoga, and tai chi have all been shown to help people with arthritis-related pain.
- Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage arthritis by reducing pain and inflammation. Always consult with a healthcare professional prior to initiating any such medication.
- As a last resort, surgery can repair or replace osteoarthritic joints and help restore function and improve quality of life.
To reduce your risk of arthritis, the best practice is to stay healthy. Exercising regularly, stretching, and controlling your blood sugar will all help reduce your risk of developing arthritis. Speak with your doctor to develop a plan to start implementing these lifestyle changes into your daily routine.