Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects the
joints as we age. In a fit and healthy young adult, the bones that make up the
major joints are cushioned by cartilage and fluid, which prevent the edges of
the bones at the hip, knee, elbow, wrist and other joints rubbing together.
Cartilage can thin with age, and wear away; once there is friction between
bones this causes inflammation and damage, making the joint stiff and painful. Osteoarthritis
treatment then becomes necessary to reduce symptoms and to prevent joint damage
as much as possible. Various osteoarthritis treatments are available for
different stages of the disease.
Once you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis,
treatment in the early stages usually takes the form of lifestyle changes;
later on medical and surgical osteoarthritis treatments can help you keep
moving around and make sure you are free from pain.
This article on osteoarthritis treatment is by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
treatment in the early stages
Aches and pains affect everyone from time to time but
when you start to get pain related to one of your joints and this persists for
weeks and months, it may be that you are in the early stages of osteoarthritis.
Your GP can refer you to a specialist for an accurate diagnosis; your joints will
be examined for pain and stiffness and X-rays will be taken to assess the
extent of joint damage.
Early diagnosis is important because self-help
osteoarthritis treatment can help relieve pain and stiffness and can delay the
progress of the disease:
weight is a very effective osteoarthritis treatment as this takes pressure
off load bearing joints such as the hips and knees.
more exercise is very useful as it strengthens the muscles, ligaments and
tendons, helping to support the joint itself. Exercise may seem a strange
osteoarthritis treatment but it does not wear out the joint even more if the
correct type of exercise is done. Swimming or walking is excellent but taking
up a contact sport is probably not a good idea.
healthy diet is always beneficial and it may help you lose weight if you
need to. There are some suggestions that eating a diet rich in fish oils may be
an effective osteoarthritis treatment; this has not been demonstrated
definitely, but many people find it helps.