Osteoarthritis or OA is also called as degenerative arthritis as it is caused due to degradation of joints. The degradation of joints can occur because of heredity, metabolism, development and mechanical movements. These reasons can initiate the processes which result in stiffening of cartilages which exposes the bone to damage as they become less protected. The rubbing of bones with each other causes severe pain and inflammation.
The initial symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint stiffness, joint pain, redness, swelling and locking and sometimes an effusion may also occur. At the very initial stage people suffer from mild pain and stiffness at the joints in the morning while getting out of bed, it is also treated as morning sickness which passes away after sometime. Such pain and stiffness is experienced even after a period of inactivity.
Crackling sound while moving the joint or touching it, is also a sign of OA. People experience sharp pain in the joints and muscle spasm or contraction of ligaments. Feeling of warmth in the joints is also suggestive for OA. The pain due to OA increases in low temperature and cold areas. In most of the cases pain due to OA increase during the movement and subsides after rest.
The pain and stiffness induce lack of movement gradually, in anticipation of pain people themselves become reluctant to move the joint which causes atrophy of muscles, ligaments and tendons to further aggravate the problem. OA can affect any joint of the body from fingers to hands, feet, spine and hip. The pain of osteoarthritis is chronic and increases with the progression of the disease. It can even lead to complete immobility of joints if not treated properly.
Osteoarthritis is not related to age, as it is construed by many people, there are many people around ninety years of age and they do not suffer from such problem while young person around 30 years may develop this problem. However OA is more prevalent in old people than young and more amongst women than men. The risk factors which may promote OA are injury or over use of any joint, obesity, exposure to environmental factors which promote OA, genetics, muscle weakness due to any reason, it has been noted that problem of OA is more prevalent in people who lead lethargic lifestyle and do not exercise.
Treatment of OA includes pain and inflammation relieving medicines during flare of disease and improvement of joint movement by means of exercises and therapies. Along with this treatment to control joint damage or cartilage damage by various techniques is also included in the main treatment. If none of these are able to relieve the chronic pain and disease progression then surgery is the last option.
Alternate treatments of OA by means of herbs and natural remedies are also recommended to avoid side effects and these are effective. Some herbal treatments can improve joint mobility, relieve pain and inflammation and control cartilage damage. Preventive measures taken by susceptible persons are the best remedy for osteoarthritis like exercising regularly, keeping weight in control and eating proper diet. Yoga has sun salutation which is a series seven of exercises and it is an effective way to prevent all type of arthritis.
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