In America alone, there are an estimated 20 million people who suffer from osteoarthritis, a painful, degenerative joint disease.

This disease, which can take two primary forms, is one of the leading causes of disability in elderly people.

We’ll examine typical symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Those suffering from osteoarthritis will also find some handy advice for mitigating osteoarthritis pain.

Osteoarthritis Background

Osteoarthritis, sometimes called “wear-and-tear arthritis”, affects the joints and cartilage that cushion and connect to your bones. It’s a common disease that develops as people age.

Currently, there’s no known cure–the disease can progress quickly. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that can improve the effects of osteoarthritis.

While it can affect any of your joints, osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the hands, back (particularly the lower-back), hips, and knees.

Usually, osteoarthritis is caused by injury and inflammation.

Cartilage damage is one of the most common causes of pain. Osteoarthritis also causes swelling and even deformities in extreme cases.

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Different Varieties of Osteoarthritis

There are two types of osteoarthritis: primary osteoarthritis most commonly affects the hands, hips, knees, and spine. Secondary osteoarthritis is a result of joint inflammation

Common Osteoarthritis Symptoms

The most notable symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain and difficulty when walking
  • Difficulty using the stairs
  • Groin pain
  • Pain in the buttocks, knees, or thighs
  • Stiffness

Diagnosing & Treating Osteoarthritis

To diagnose osteoarthritis, a physician will need to give you a clinical evaluation and gather your individual medical history. After analyzing your symptoms and performing the necessary tests (MRI, CT scans, etc.) your doctor will be able to suggest the proper treatment regimen for you. Common treatments for osteoarthritis include:

  • Prolotherapy
  • Epidural Nerve Block
  • Stem Cell Therapy
  • Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

Dealing with Osteoarthritis Symptoms

It’s challenging living with osteoarthritis, but there are some ways to take control of your life and treat the pain associated with this degenerative disease:

Exercise–Contrary to popular opinion, exercise doesn’t make your joints worse. Most people suffering from osteoarthritis don’t get nearly enough exercise; inactive lifestyles can actually exacerbate osteoarthritis symptoms. You should, however, avoid exercises that cause strain to your joints. Mild to moderate weight lifting, as well as low-resistance exercises like swimming, water aerobics, or cycling

Diet & Nutrition–Avoid processed and fried foods, as well as frequent red meat consumption. Maintaining a healthy weight is important, too–extra weight increases stress on your bones. In fact, osteoarthritis rates are twice as high among overweight and obese people. Eating plenty of lean protein, good fats, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables will help reduce inflammation, and keep your cartilage and bones functioning properly.

If your osteoarthritis symptoms are causing you pain, it’s time to take back your life–talk to your doctor about treatment options today.