Health One Family Medicine

Osteoarthritis: Early Detection and Treatment

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints. It is a degenerative condition that occurs when the cartilage that is present between your joints starts to thin. As a result, your joints are unable to move smoothly. A person suffering from osteoarthritis will suffer from swelling and stiffness in their joints. It is a painful condition that results in the loss of motion in your joints. Osteoarthritis normally affects joints of the hips, knees, thumbs, fingers, and the lower portion of your back.

It is the most common type of arthritis that usually affects individuals who are 40 years of age or older. There are several early symptoms of osteoarthritis that allow early detection and treatment. Let’s take a look at what these are:

Early Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The following symptoms may help detect osteoarthritis at an early stage:

Pain and Increased Sensitivity

If you often feel pain in your lower back, knees, hips, and neck, then this could be a symptom of osteoarthritis. You may also feel pain when you try to move a certain way.  Try pressing down on the areas that ache the most. If you feel tenderness when you press down on them, then this could indicate that the joint is affected by osteoarthritis.

In some cases, you might feel pain even while you are not doing any kind of physical activity.

Loss of Motion and Stiffness

If you are suffering from osteoarthritis then your joints will feel stiffer. You may also experience some loss of flexibility and motion in the affected joints. For example, if you are unable to turn your back completely or cannot bend your knee properly without experiencing pain, then you could be suffering from osteoarthritis.

A “Crunching” Feeling

As the cartilage between your joints wears down, your joints start to rub against each other. You will experience a “crunching” feeling when this happens. In some cases, you might also hear a clicking sound as the joints move against each other.

Causes and Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The cause of osteoarthritis has not been identified. However, risk factors such as age, genetics, obesity, excessive use of some joints, joint injury, lack of physical activity, and nerve injury have been associated with the disease. There are several treatments of osteoarthritis that can help in pain management. These include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications— these help reduce the pain and swelling in your joints
  • Physical therapy and yoga— this can build your physical endurance, provide stability to your spine, and improve flexibility in joints.
  • Loss of weight— this is very important in managing osteoarthritis. Increased weight places more pressure on your joints and causes them to ache and swell.

In Conclusion

Osteoarthritis is a very common joint disease that affects nearly 27 million Americans. However, recognizing early symptoms of osteoarthritis can allow you to manage the condition.

If you’re seeking further advice on the treatment of osteoarthritis, we suggest you make an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine, visit call (469) 262-5762.