Osteoarthritis Facts

 

I have had OA for over 15 years and its painful. Its limiting and when you have it in your 40s it really sucks. Fast forward I am 56 and I am still learning how to cope with my pain associated with OA .

Writing about living with osteoarthritis and osteonecrosis as well as a bilateral pars fracture and spondylolisthesisin my L5 S1 has allowed me to meet great people, share my experiences with others, and better understand how people are dealing with similar issues. And hopefully help others like me.

We must not always sit sit means stiff and stiff means more pain.

Pain is the arguably the most distressing feature of osteoarthritis or any bone problem , affecting a patients quality of life and ability to carry out daily routines. Why osteoarthritis is sometimes painful and others painless is yet to be explained.

Today there are over 50 million adults in the United States have some type of arthritis. Although there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, when most people talk about arthritis many are referring to the most common type: osteoarthritis. More common in women, osteoarthritis causes chronic (long-term) symptoms and tends to occur more often as you age.

You are more at risk for osteoarthritis if you:

Are overweight

Have a family history of arthritis

Have had a previous joint injury

How to Manage Joint Pain as You Age

If you have osteoarthritis, your symptoms may come and go and they may become worse over time. Osteoarthritis symptoms can become so severe that you are unable to do certain things you could previously, such as write or walk up and down stairs. The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

Pain and stiffness

Swelling near the joints

Trouble moving around without pain

Decreased range of motion

You can help prevent or delay osteoarthritis symptoms by doing the following:

Regularly exercising

Doing muscle strengthening activities

Avoiding repetitive movements that wear on joints

Maintaining a healthy weight

Living with Osteoarthritis

If you have mild or early symptoms of osteoarthritis, you can help manage your pain using these tips:

We have to keep moving — mild exercise, such as walking, at least once a day

Rest after activity

Alternate hot and cold on the affected joints

Massage therapy

Take over the counter anti-inflammatory pain relief if your allowed to- so check with your doctor

Most mild or moderate arthritis can be treated with a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine and hot/cold therapy or pain relieving creams, rubs or sprays. Some people find that acupuncture can also relieve arthritis symptoms.

When arthritis pain becomes severe, your doctor may recommend mild narcotic medicines with codeine or hydrocodone for pain.

Some patients also find temporary joint pain relief with corticosteroid injections. But use caution because this can cause an even bigger bone problem and that is Osteonecrosis aka Avascular Necrosis.

PRP and Prolotherapy as well as Injections like Euflexxa can help Oa and often can also ease some of the pain from osteonecrosis as well.

When medical treatment no longer provides relief, joint replacement surgery may be an option.

Did You know

The new study followed two groups of men and women who had knee osteoarthritis or were at risk for it. Among the first group, those who ate the most fiber were 30% less likely to develop knee pain or stiffness than those who ate the least fiber. More than 4,700 people with knee osteoarthritis were followed for 4 years.

The second group, which followed 1,200 for 9 years, had an even more dramatic result: top fiber consumers had a 60% lower risk for knee symptoms than those who consumed the least fiber.1

Researchers think that fiber’s benefits for those with arthritis stem from two factors:

  1. Fiber creates a feeling a fullness, which can help you eat less and manage weight better. Being overweight is a known risk factor for knee osteoarthritis.

See Knee Osteoarthritis Causes

  1. Fiber can decrease inflammation. Studies have found that fiber intake is inversely associated with levels in the body of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker.

Here are some great ways to add more fiber to your diet:

Add kidney or garbanzo beans or lentils to soups and salads

Instead of drinking juice, eat an orange or apple.

Keep raw, cut-up vegetables on hand for snacking. Dip them in yogurt or hummus and enjoy.

Keep fiber-rich snack options on hand, like unsalted nuts or dried fruit.

With a few small changes to your eating habits, you can help protect your knees, your heart, and more by getting fiber in your diet.

 

pain2

 

Education

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.

Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be effectively managed, although the underlying process cannot be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain. Your joint may hurt during or after movement.
  • Tenderness. Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
  • Stiffness. Joint stiffness may be most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
  • Loss of flexibility. You may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
  • Grating sensation. You may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint.
  • Bone spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.

When to see a doctor

If you have joint pain or stiffness that doesn’t go away, make an appointment with your doctor.

Causes

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that permits nearly frictionless joint motion.

In osteoarthritis, the slick surface of the cartilage becomes rough. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, you may be left with bone rubbing on bone.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:

  • Older age. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age.
  • Sex. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn’t clear why.
  • Obesity. Carrying extra body weight contributes to osteoarthritis in several ways, and the more you weigh, the greater your risk. Increased weight puts added stress on weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees. In addition, fat tissue produces proteins that may cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints.
  • Joint injuries. Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that occurred many years ago and seemingly healed can increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Certain occupations. If your job includes tasks that place repetitive stress on a particular joint, that joint may eventually develop osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics. Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Bone deformities. Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

Complications

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that worsens over time. Joint pain and stiffness may become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult.

Some people are no longer able to work. When joint pain is this severe, doctors may suggest joint replacement surgery.

Imaging tests

Pictures of the affected joint can be obtained during imaging tests. Examples include:

X-rays. Cartilage doesn’t show up on X-ray images, but cartilage loss is revealed by a narrowing of the space between the bones in your joint. An X-ray may also show bone spurs around a joint. Some people may have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis before they experience any symptoms.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage. An MRI isn’t commonly needed to diagnose osteoarthritis but may help provide more information in complex cases.

Lab tests

Analyzing your blood or joint fluid can help confirm the diagnosis.

Blood tests. Although there is no blood test for osteoarthritis, certain tests may help rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Joint fluid analysis. Your doctor may use a needle to draw fluid out of the affected joint. Examining and testing the fluid from your joint can determine if there’s inflammation and if your pain is caused by gout or an infection.

 

Medications

Osteoarthritis symptoms, primarily pain, may be helped by certain medications, including:

  • Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) has been shown to be effective for people with osteoarthritis who have mild to moderate pain. Taking more than the recommended dosage of acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, others), taken at the recommended doses, typically relieve osteoarthritis pain. Stronger NSAIDs, available by prescription, may also slightly reduce inflammation along with relieving pain.

    NSAIDs can cause stomach upset, cardiovascular problems, bleeding problems, and liver and kidney damage. Topical NSAIDs have fewer side effects and may relieve pain just as well.

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta). Normally used as an antidepressant, this medication is also approved to treat chronic pain, including osteoarthritis pain.

Therapy

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to create an individualized exercise program that will strengthen the muscles around your joint, increase your range of motion and reduce pain. Regular gentle exercise that you do on your own, such as swimming or walking, can be equally effective.
  • Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can help you discover ways to do everyday tasks or do your job without putting extra stress on your already painful joint. For instance, a toothbrush with a large grip could make brushing your teeth easier if you have finger osteoarthritis. A bench in your shower could help relieve the pain of standing if you have knee osteoarthritis.
  • Tai chi and yoga. These movement therapies involve gentle exercises and stretches combined with deep breathing. Many people use these therapies to reduce stress in their lives, and research suggests that tai chi and yoga may reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve movement. When led by a knowledgeable instructor, these therapies are safe. Avoid moves that cause pain in your joints.

Surgical and other procedures

If conservative treatments don’t help, you may want to consider procedures such as:

  • Cortisone injections. Injections of corticosteroid medications may relieve pain in your joint. During this procedure your doctor numbs the area around your joint, then places a needle into the space within your joint and injects medication. The number of cortisone injections you can receive each year is generally limited to three or four injections, because the medication can worsen joint damage over time.Use Caution as these can cause Osteonecrosis
  • Lubrication injections. Injections of hyaluronic acid may offer pain relief by providing some cushioning in your knee, though some research suggests these injections offer no more relief than a placebo. Hyaluronic acid is similar to a component normally found in your joint fluid.
  • Realigning bones. If osteoarthritis has damaged one side of your knee more than the other, an osteotomy might be helpful. In a knee osteotomy, a surgeon cuts across the bone either above or below the knee, and then removes or adds a wedge of bone. This shifts your body weight away from the worn-out part of your knee.
  • Joint replacement. In joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty), your surgeon removes your damaged joint surfaces and replaces them with plastic and metal parts. Surgical risks include infections and blood clots. Artificial joints can wear out or come loose and may need to eventually be replaced.
  • PRP Injections is a concentration of platelet cells taken from your blood, and these platelets have growth factors that may help in the healing process of chronic injuries. Growth factors are chemicals that signal the body to initiate a healing response.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in osteoarthritis symptoms. Other home treatments also might help. Some things to try include:

  • Exercise. Exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Try walking, biking or swimming. If you feel new joint pain, stop.

    New pain that lasts for hours after you exercise probably means you’ve overdone it but doesn’t mean you have done any significant damage or that you should stop exercising. Simply resume a day or two later at a slightly lower level of intensity.

  • Lose weight. Obesity or even being somewhat overweight increases the stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees and your hips. Even a small amount of weight loss can relieve some pressure and reduce your pain.

    Talk to a dietitian about healthy ways to lose weight. Most people combine changes in their diets with increased exercise.

  • Use heat and cold to manage pain. Both heat and cold can relieve pain in your joint. Heat also relieves stiffness, and cold can relieve muscle spasms and pain.
  • Capsaicin. Topical capsaicin — an active component in hot chili peppers — applied over an arthrititic joint may be an alternative for people who can’t take NSAIDs. It may not be noticeably helpful unless consistently applied three to four times a day for several weeks. Be sure to wash your hands well after applying capsaicin cream.
  • Apply over-the-counter pain creams. Creams and gels available at drugstores may provide temporary relief from osteoarthritis pain. Some creams numb the pain by creating a hot or cool sensation.

    Other creams contain medications, such as aspirin-like compounds, that are absorbed into your skin. Pain creams work best on joints that are close to the surface of your skin, such as your knees and fingers.

  • Braces or shoe inserts. Your doctor may recommend shoe inserts or other devices that can help reduce pain when you stand or walk. These devices can immobilize or support your joint to help take pressure off it.
  • Knee taping. Strapping tape may help ease the pain of knee osteoarthritis. Ask a doctor or physical therapist to demonstrate how best to place the tape.
  • Use assistive devices. Assistive devices can make it easier to go about your day without stressing your painful joint. A cane may take weight off your knee or hip as you walk. Carry the cane in the hand opposite the leg that hurts.

    Gripping and grabbing tools may make it easier to work in the kitchen if you have osteoarthritis in your fingers. Your doctor or occupational therapist may have ideas about what sorts of assistive devices may be helpful to you. Catalogs and medical supply stores also may be places to look for ideas.

Alternative medicine

Various complementary and alternative medicine may help with osteoarthritis symptoms. Treatments that have shown promise for osteoarthritis include:

  • Acupuncture. Some studies indicate that acupuncture can relieve pain and improve function in people who have knee osteoarthritis. During acupuncture, hair-thin needles are inserted into your skin at precise spots on your body.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin. Studies have been mixed on these nutritional supplements. A few have found benefits for people with osteoarthritis, while most indicate that these supplements work no better than a placebo.Don’t use glucosamine if you’re allergic to shellfish. Glucosamine and chondroitin may interact with blood thinners such as warfarin and cause bleeding problems.
  • Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables. This nutritional supplement — a mixture of avocado and soybean oils — is widely used in Europe to treat knee and hip osteoarthritis. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, and some studies have shown it may slow down or even prevent joint damage.

 

Homemade Pain Rub

Pain Rub

Ingredients

½ cup carrier oil of choice (sweet almond, grapeseed, olive, etc.)

2 T. beeswax pellets (available here)

20 drops Lavender essential oil

10 drops Frankincense essential oil

10 drops Marjoram essential oil

10 drops Rosemary essential oil

Materials

Metal spoon

Large, heat safe glass bowl

Pot

Metal tin (such as these) or glass jar

Instructions

Pour the carrier oil and place the beeswax into the glass bowl.

Fill the pot halfway with water, and put it on the stove with medium high heat. Perch the glass bowl on top of the pot to create a double boiler effect. Once the water begins to boil, turn it down to medium low. You want the water to remain at a low boil, without getting all over the stove.

Stir the mixture with the metal spoon until the beeswax is melted.

Carefully remove the glass bowl from the heat and place it on a table top. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the essential oils. If the oil is too hot, the essential oils will just evaporate into the air.

Pour the muscle rub into metal tins, or the glass jar and let it cool to room temperature. You can also put the muscle rub in the fridge to speed up the process.

Do Not use on Broken skin

 

 

 

References and Pics

OA info and PRP

 

Mayo Clinic OA

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