An inflammation of any joint of the body is called arthritis. Osteo-arthritis means an inflamed joint due to some destructive changes.
Osteoarthritis presents with pain, redness, swelling and stiffness of the joint or joints. Arthritis also limits the movement of the body due to involvement of joint.
According to The US National Library of Medicine if you are suffering from pain and stiffness of the joints and if you feel difficulty in moving around then it is a sign that you could be suffering from the arthritis.
Arthritis could be of many types. Most common of them is osteoarthritis or (OA) and Rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis generally affects elderly people and it usually affects weight-bearing joints of the body like hips and knees. Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by wear and tear of the bones of the affected joints. To allow smooth movement between the bones in a joint nature has provided cartilage between the bones. In arthritic condition, this cartilage is damaged causing friction between the two bones, which in turn gives rise to pain while movement of the body.
Apart from wear and tear of the joints and age related changes there are following factors, which cause osteoarthritis.
- Obesity: Obesity or excess body weight places extra load on the weight bearing joints causing them to wear out fast. Excess weight is found to be most common factor causing the disease. Research has proved that if you lose 1 pound of body weight then you can reduce the load on the weight bearing joint by about 4 pounds.
- Genetic tendency: It is observed that children of arthritic parents are at higher risk of developing the disease. It is also seen that osteoarthritis can develop in such children at around the same age as that of their parents.
- Physical overexertion of joints: Jobs which may require excessive movements of the weight bearing joints such as sports persons or waiters of the hotels who may have to be on their toes all the time or porters who have to carry really heavy loads from one place to another are at higher risk of developing arthritis of knees or hips.
- Trauma: Previous history of fall or injury on the joint in young age can give rise to arthritis of joints in the later life.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Limited activity of the joints increases the chance of developing osteoarthritis in an individual. Lack of exercise and sedentary habits lead to weakness of muscles, weakness of joint strength and lack of pain tolerance in an individual.
Coping with arthritis:
Arthritis can be managed well by taking help of following specialists.
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Orthopedic surgeon
- Homeopathic doctor
Role of physical therapist:
Arthritis can be managed well by taking help of physical therapy and occupational therapy. Physical and occupational therapy help in maintaining the mobility of joint and achieving the range of motion. An expert’s guidance is needed to undergo physical and occupational therapy.
People suffering from arthritis often try to avoid the active movement of the affected joint because of pain. Here comes the role of physical therapist. He shows the correct way of using the joint so as to avoid any further damage to the affected joints. Physical therapist can play an important role in reducing joint stiffness; maintain the range of motion and regaining good posture by the way of effective exercises.
Physical therapist also shows right way of using crutches, walkers if needed by the patient.
Role of occupational therapist:
Occupational therapist can teach the patient about the way of using the joints in such a way that minimum strain falls on the joint. They also play an important role in modifying patient’s office or workplace and make them suitable to use for the arthritic patients so that the movements do not aggravate the arthritis.
Normally patients suffering from arthritis tend to restrict the active movements because of fear of pain in the joints. But the fact is physically active arthritic patients enjoy better quality of life.
Role of a dietician:
It is very important for the patients suffering from arthritis to take a well-balanced and nutritious diet under an expert’s care. This will help them to maintain good physical health as well as they will be able to shed excess weight in case if they are overweight.
Excess body weight puts extra pressure on weight bearing joints worsening the arthritis. So it is very important to shed excess weight for the patients of arthritis. Even a small amount of weight loss can produce significant relief in terms of symptoms for the arthritic patients.
Role of Orthopedic surgeon
An orthopedic surgeon will help you diagnose and assess the extent of Osteoarthritis. This expert will also help you decide if your disease needs medical or surgical line of treatment. In case of extreme or severe osteoarthritis of knees or hips, an orthopedic surgeon could suggest you Knee or hip replacement. He can also prescribe the conventional pain killers to get relief.
Role of homeopathic doctor
A homeopathic doctor will help you prescribe homeopathic medicines for osteoarthritis, based on the extent of the disease. Homeopathy can help to alleviate the pain without the adverse effects found with the conventional pain-killers. Homeopathy can give significant pain relief, however, it cannot give you a substitute to the joint replacement.
Thus, by improving and including lifestyle modification, regular exercises, and dietary changes and with positive attitude to life one can cope very well with arthritis.