Arthritis ranks amongst the top 10 non-communicable diseases in the world so it wouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve already heard a lot about it. Of the 54 million people affected by arthritis in the United States alone, half are victim to a particular type called Osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is most commonly prevalent in the elderly (people beyond the age of 60) as it affects the bones at the joints. However, it would not be fair to suggest that osteoarthritis only affects the elderly since 14% of the people suffering from osteoarthritis are adults aged 25 or more.
What is Osteoarthritis?
In layman terms, osteoarthritis occurs because of the depletion of the cushion between the bones at the joints known as the cartilage, which leads to inflammation, pain, and stiffness. The “wear and tear” of the cartilage occurs due to the regular and long-term use of the joint, which is why osteoarthritis is most common among senior citizens. However, it can also be heredity or caused by trauma and injury.
How to Manage the Pain?
The most common and serious symptom of osteoarthritis is the pain in the joints. Since osteoarthritis cannot be healed, the best way to treat the disease is through pain management. Within the United States, there are numerous clinics, such as Kroll Care in Woodstock that act as pain management centers for osteoarthritis patients and offer a wide range of services and tips to manage the pain effectively. Here are just some of the ways that allow effective osteoarthritis pain management:
Physical activity is one of the easiest ways to manage the pain and to treat the inflammation and stiffness around the joint. Even though it may be hard to consider performing a physical activity when the joint is stiff and painful, yet studies have shown that exercising actually strengthens the muscles around the joint, allowing better mobility and reducing pain.
Weight Management allows managing the pain by reducing the pressure on the joint. By losing weight, there would be less burden on the joint to carry and thus would relieve the pain. The easiest way to lose weight is by consuming lesser calories and increasing physical activity.
Stretching allows greater mobility and flexibility in the joint which reduces the pain and stiffness. The best stretching techniques are yoga or tai-chi.
Watching Your Diet is also necessary as there are some foods that can help manage the pain while others worsen the inflammation and stiffness. For example, sugar is to be avoided as it may trigger an immune response to the disease and worsen inflammation. Similarly, too much salt increases water retention which leads to swelling up of the muscles. Other foods that need to be avoided include fried foods, white flour, and dairy.
Use heat and cold to manage the pain at the joints. Heat relieves muscle stiffness whereas cold can help ease the pain.
Proper Medication is always the best way to manage pain if all else fails. For this purpose, one can use anti-inflammatory medication such as analgesics and corticosteroids.