Symptoms and characteristicsof osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. According to the National Health Service, UK, approximately 8.5 million people are affected by the condition.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease; signs and symptoms gradually worsen over time. There is no cure. However, available therapies may help with pain and swelling (inflammation), as well as keeping the patient mobile and active. Experts say that patients who take steps to actively manage their osteoarthritis are more likely to gain control over their symptoms.
The application of the ALMAG-01 device proved to be very effective in this case and this device is used in the disease prevention and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Any joint in the body may be affected. However, osteoarthritis is most likely to affects the patient's:
- Lower back
Osteoarthritis has three characteristics:
- Bony growths develop around the edge of joints.
- It damages cartilage - Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints.
- Synovitis - there is mild inflammation of the tissues around the joints.
Osteoarthritis is more common among females than males, especially after the age of 50 years. Most commonly, it develops in people aged over 40. Younger people may also be affected; usually after an injury or as a result of another joint condition.
Some people say that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of ageing. This is untrue. There are people well into their nineties who have no clinical or functional signs of the disease.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
A symptom is something the patient feels and reports, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor detect. For example, pain may be a symptom while a rash may be a sign.
Osteoarthritis has as its main symptoms:
- Problems moving affected joints.
- Stiffness - more severe on waking up in the morning, and improves within 30 minutes when the individual starts moving about.
In some cases people with osteoarthritis may have no symptoms. Symptoms are usually only felt in either one joint, or a just a few at any one time. In many cases the symptoms come on slowly.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Affected joints are larger than usual
- After not moving the joint for a while pain and stiffness may worsen
- Joints are warm
- Loss of muscle bulk
- Tenderness in the affected joint
- The affected joints will have a limited range of movements
- The patient may experience a grating or crackling sound/sensation in the affected joint.
The knees, hips or hands are most commonly affected.
Osteoarthritis in the knees
Pain and stiffness in the knee could be a symptom of osteoarthritis
In most cases both knees are affected, unless the osteoarthritis was caused by an injury (or another condition). The patient will experience pain when walking, especially uphill or upstairs. Knees may lock into position, making it much harder to straighten the leg. The knee may make a soft, grating sound when used.
Osteoarthritis in the hips
Anything that requires movement of the hip joint causes problems, such as getting in/out of a car, or putting on one's shoes and socks.
Although pain in the hip is common, some patients with osteoarthritis in the hips experience pain in their knee (and not their hip). Less commonly, pain may be felt in the thighs, ankles and buttocks.
Typically, pain is felt whilst walking. But some people are in pain even when resting.
Osteoarthritis in the hands
Three areas may be affected:
- The base of the thumb
- The top joint of the fingers (closest to the nail)
- The middle joint of the fingers.
Fingers may be stiff, swollen and painful. Sometimes bumps may develop on the finger joints. In some cases, finger pain decreases and eventually goes away, while the swelling and bumps remain.
At the affected joints the fingers may bend slightly sideways. Fluid-filled lumps may develop on the backs of the fingers; they are often painful.
A bump may develop where the base of the thumb joins the wrist. This may make writing, turning keys and opening jar-tops difficult and painful.
When to see a doctor
People who have joint stiffness and swelling that persist for more than a couple of weeks, they should see their doctor. Those already on osteoarthritis medications should contact a health care professional if they experience nausea, constipation, drowsiness, abdominal discomfort, or have black/tarry stools
HOW TO HELP YOURSELF TO STAY HEALTHY AND ACTIVE?
People suffering from osteoarthritis must do regular remedial exercises. No doubt, in remission stage bike or swimming exercise is the best. However, if you are in the acute stages of the disease, there is no substitute for remedial exercises.
The exercises improve your mobility and keep your muscles strong. Stretches help to reduce the spasm. Commonly, lumbar and cervical portions of the spine are the most affected areas, less frequently it occurs with the thoracic spine. Often enough, osteoarthritis is complicated with neurological conditions as a result of nerve ending pressing.
CERVICAL AREA AFFECTED - ACUTE STAGE EXERCISES
In the acute stage remedial exercises are performed only when pain is significantly reduced. If during the exercises pain becomes stronger, do not proceed.
• Sit down with your elbows placed on top of the table
• Place the palms of your hand on your forehead
• Bring head forward with resistance to your hand
• Press forehead against the palm of your hand for 5 seconds and release
• Repeat 4 - 5 times
• Sit down in front of a table and pace your right hand on a temple
• Slowly turn your head to the right with resistance to your hand
• Hold for 5 - 10 seconds
• Return to the central position and continue with your left hand
• Repeat 4 - 5 times
• Sit down and bring your two shoulders up
• Hold for 10 - 15 seconds and release
• Repeat 5 - 10 times
• Sit down with your shoulders down and head up
• Open your mouth wide and bite
• Repeat 5 times
CERVICAL AREA CHRONIC STAGE
• Sit down on a chair with your arms on the sides of your body
• Breathe in and turn your head to the right as far as your shoulder allows
• Hold position for 5 - 10 seconds and return to the central position
• Repeat exercise to the left side
• Please do not turn your head left and right quickly and remember to hold position for 5 - 10 seconds
• Sit down on a chair with your shoulders down and back straight
• Imagine someone is withholding your head and stretching it up
• Sit in this position for 10 - 40 seconds
• Release and repeat exercise 1