Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes the cartilage in a person's joints to degenerate. Cartilage helps to prevent bones from rubbing against one another. As such, when it degenerates, the affected joints may become swollen and inflamed. Those who suffer from this condition will usually experience a great deal of pain, as well as a reduction in mobility. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis; however, there are treatments which can help a person to manage their pain and prevent their symptoms from worsening. Read on to learn more about these treatment options.
One of the most effective ways for a person to manage their symptoms is to follow a consistent exercise routine. Physical activity offers two important benefits for people with this condition; firstly, it helps to strengthen the muscles that surround their inflamed joints, which can improve their mobility levels. Secondly, it can help a person to lose excess weight; this can dramatically lower the amount of pressure that is placed on their joints and thus reduce the amount of pain they experience.
It is important for those with osteoarthritis to choose appropriate forms of exercise. For example, long distance running is not advisable for anyone who suffers from this disease, as this type of physical activity can, in some cases, damage weight-bearing joints. Instead, they should opt for types of exercise which do not put too much pressure on their joints, such as cycling, aqua aerobics and low-impact strength training (such as lifting dumbbells, for example).
If despite exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight, a person is still experiencing a lot of pain, their doctor may recommend that they use medication to manage their symptoms. In many cases, over-the-counter medicines, such as analgesics and NSAIDs, are effective in reducing a person's pain levels.
NSAIDs can be particularly useful for inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, as these are specifically designed to reduce inflammation. They can be taken orally, in tablet form, or applied topically, as a cream. Generally speaking, the topical forms of NSAIDS are best used on joints that are located just underneath the skin, such as the fingers or the knees. They are less effective on deep-seated joints like the hips.
If the pain is excruciating, it may be necessary for the person to take stronger, prescription medication, such as opioids. These are excellent for relieving severe pain; however, they can be addictive and often cause a wide range of side effects.
In instances where the body's weight-bearing joints (such as the hips, for example) have become inflamed, to the point where the person's mobility is severely affected and they are in constant pain, surgery may be an appropriate treatment option.
Hip replacement surgery, as the term itself implies, involves removing the damaged hip joint and replacing it with a prosthetic device, consisting of two components (an artificial socket and ball). This procedure is relatively simple and can usually be completed in just a couple of hours.
Replacing a damaged joint can have a hugely positive impact on a person's life. Not only can it dramatically reduce the amount of pain and stiffness they experience, but it can also improve their mobility levels.