what_is_osteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis,  especially among older people. However,  younger people also suffer from arthritis as a result of excessive wear and tear of joints.  It can be painful and depressing. There are many treatment options available but research shows that exercise is one of the best treatments for the problem.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly affect the cartilage.  Cartilage is a slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint.  A healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs the shock of physical movement . Osteoarthritis of the spinal vertebra is referred to as spondylosis, most commonly occurring is the neck region ( cervical spondylosis ) and low back region ( lumar spondylosis ). In Osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wear away. When this happens, the bones under the cartilage being to rub together causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. When it occurs in the spine, the narrowing may cause nerves o be pinched, causing pain. Small bones spurs called osteophytes may also grow on the edges of the joint. This result of the body trying to hold the joint together from excessive movements. The body thinks that the joint is wearing out due to the excessive movements isolated to a specific joint, so it grows these spurs in an attempt to better hold it together. Bits of bone or cartilage may break off and float inside the joint space causing more pain and damage. The spurs may also press to a nerve when growing  on the spine, again causing pain. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint through it most often occur at the hands, knees, hips or spine.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

The exact cause of the disease is still unknown. However it is believed that it is a result of a combination of factors, including the aging process, joint injury and stress on the joints from certain jobs and sports activities.

  • Aging process : Cartilage wear and tear due to our daily activities may remain unchanged over time. But our body’s ability to repair them will gradually decrease as we age.
  • –  Joint Stress is common reason when Osteoarthritis occurs in younger people.  Condition such as poor posture and being overweight can cause excessive amount of stress to be placed on a particular joint, leading to abnormal wear and tear.

Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

  • – Joint pain and limited movement.
  • – Stiffness, particularly early morning stiffness.
  • – Joint swelling.
  • – Deformity of bones.

Treatment Of Osteoarthritis

There are many treatment options available for Osteoarthritis e.g. : analgesics, intra- articular injections, arthroscopic debridement of torn cartilage, joint replacement but the researcher shows physiotherapy and exercise is one of the best treatment which is safe, non – invasive and free from side- effects.

How Physiotherapy can help cure Osteoarthritis

Physiotherapist assess and treats biochemical problems that may exacerbate the pain and loss of function. Physiotherapy treatment includes :

Manual Therapy :

Mobili- station and manipulations improve mobility of joint and reduce pain.

Exercise Therapy :

Exercise help by :

  • – Improving strength of muscles and stability around joint.
  • – Improving joint lubrication and nutrition.
  • – Maintaining or increasing movement.
  • – Restoring muscle balance.
  • – Improving circulation.
  • – Improving poor posture.
  • – Maintaining ideal body weight or reduce weight.

Electrotherapy for Osteoarthritis

Electrotherapy includes various thermal, mechanical, electromagnetic agents, used to facilitate tissue healing, increase soft tissue extensibility. Electrical stimulation directly blocks transmission of pain signals along the nerve and promotes release of endorphin hormone which is natural pain killer produced by body.

How you can help yourself

  • – Avoid over-stressing joints.
  • – Avoid jerky/sudden movements.
  • – Don’t overload joints.
  • – Don’t lift heavy articles.
  • – Watch your weights.
  • – Use splints or walking aids as advised.
  • – Don’t overdo exercise or activity.
  • – Improve your body alignment to take stress off any arthritic joints.

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