As the most common form of arthritis affecting people around the world, you might think you know enough about osteoarthritis. But there are so many misconceptions about the condition that make it difficult to separate the facts from fiction. Today, we’ll go over some of the truths about arthritis and what can be really done about it.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints of the body, primarily (but not exclusively) the hands, knees, hips, and spine. It’s usually caused by ageing, as natural joint wear and tear is the most common cause of the condition.
Your joints are protected by cartilage, a tissue that allows for frictionless movement. Cartilage breaks down over time as you move around and use your joints. This means that the ends of your bones will brush up against each other without any protection, causing bone damage.
When cartilage deteriorates, so too will the tissue, bone, and muscle in the surrounding areas. This can also cause inflammation, which in turn is a cause of the pain that many patients suffer from. Osteoarthritis is just one of hundreds of different types of arthritis that affect the joints and is the most common one. 1
What Are The Risk Factors Of Osteoarthritis?
As mentioned, one of the highest risk factors for osteoarthritis is old age. But did you know that putting on too much weight is also a contributing factor? The more body weight you have, the more work it places on your joints to move around. The protein in the extra fat is also known to cause inflammation that directly affects your joints.
If you’ve been injured in any way that affects your joints, such as a dislocated joint or a torn ligament, this will also increase the risk of osteoarthritis at any age. This is why it’s a common misconception that osteoarthritis only affects old people!
Osteoarthritis is measured in stages from 0 (normal) to 4 (severe). If you want to avoid a 4, you’ll need to be aware of the symptoms that are often associated with osteoarthritis. These may vary but can be very obvious. This includes pain directly in the joints, stiffness, inflammation, and swelling. The longer it’s left unchecked by a doctor, the more painful it usually gets. Usually if you have been in an injury, a doctor may be able to identify the onset of osteoarthritis with an X-ray or an MRI.
How Do You Treat Osteoarthritis Pain?
The most basic form of relief is through physical therapy. Improve your joint flexibility and muscle strength through light exercise in order to keep the load off your joints as much as possible. Losing weight and burning fat is also a common recommendation of doctors. Pain medication can sometimes help in the short-term, but is not recommended as your body will get used to the pain medication and you will be required to increase your dosage, which can pose other health risks. 2
Surgery is a growing choice for some osteoarthritis sufferers. Sometimes a joint replacement or resurfacing (replacement of bone and cartilage with metal) can be an option, but surgery often comes with risks including failure, infection, and a long recovery and rehabilitation phase that precludes you from returning to a normal routine as soon as possible.
Another Form Of Treatment For Osteoarthritis
At Alternative Disc Therapy, Dr Warren J Bleiweiss has been a pioneer in minimally invasive treatments for joint pain sufferers, whether it’s in the neck, hands, knees, or spine. Regenerative medicine has been shown to help regenerate the tissue cells in the joints, allowing for cartilage to naturally repair itself and reverse the wear and tear as much as possible. This is accomplished by extracting the patient’s own cells and processing them to concentrate as much of the healing potential in the cells as possible. It’s one of the ways we can restore function without surgery or pain medication, allowing for a faster recovery. It’s been used at our clinic for the knees, hips, and spine.
Another advancement in osteoarthritis relief is ozone injections for joints. Although primarily used in the spinal joints, it’s been used with other joints and muscles with success among patients. Ozone injection therapy for the treatment of herniated discs works by shrinking the herniated portion of the disc that is pressing on a spinal nerve. This reduces pressure on your nerves, which reduces the pain. It also helps stimulate cell regeneration and blood flow in the area to help aid the recovery process. Studies have found it as effective as surgery for back pain, without the risks and downtime associated with it.3
To learn more about how regenerative cell treatment and ozone therapy can help you relieve your osteoarthritis, contact us today at Alternative Disc Therapy where we are happy to help you understand your treatment options better. Call or text (973) 721-9622 to book your appointment.
Written by Daniela Couto at Alternative Disc Therapy