While you are most likely familiar with arthritis, you may not understand the condition is different from osteoarthritis. In most cases, traditional cases of arthritis damages the cartilage and joins, but osteoarthritis is a more involved damaging that occurs with time.
Affecting over 25 million Americans today, osteoarthritis causes pain and discomfort in and around your joints due to prolonged wear and tear. If you believe you are suffering with this common form of arthritis or seeking advice from a doctor, this guide can help you understand and treat the pain associated with the condition.
Although the condition affects your joints, osteoarthritis also leads to the loss of surrounding cartilage. For most patients, it also causes discomfort in nearby muscles and bones. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should consult your physician to determine if you have osteoarthritis:
- Pain – While obvious, osteoarthritis causes pain. You may experience this discomfort in various areas of your body during sleep, rest, or strenuous activity. In some cases, the pain is continuous.
- Weakness – Osteoarthritis causes the muscles around your joints to weaken dramatically.
- Swelling – Swelling may occur around your joints. This is common with osteoarthritis of the knee. As the condition progresses, you may experience some deformity of your joints.
- Stiffness – After waking, certain joints may also be stiff. You may have difficulty getting out of bed or off a chair. This stiffness will most likely lead to a reduced mobility.
- Popping – Cracking, popping, or clicking sounds may be noticeable with osteoarthritis when moving positions.
A daily regimen of ibuprofen is a common treatment for your paint, but it does not provide ongoing relief. Many patients require prescription medications and ongoing injections for pain management, but holistic treatments are healthier alternatives. To relieve the pain of your osteoarthritis in a holistic manner, consider the following options:
Using thermal heat in the form of creams, gels, and pads to relieve pain is a popular option. Considering these products are readily available in stores and pharmacies, it is an easy and efficient form of pain relief. However, your osteoarthritis may require a more involved form of thermal heat to ensure prolonged relief.
Resting in an infrared sauna for 30 minutes or more can help ease the pain and stiffness around your joints. In addition, the infrared heaters efficiently reduce swelling and inflammation by stimulating the surface of your skin. This process relieves pain by increasing your blood flow and boosting your immune system.
Your physician may also recommend physical therapy to relive pain and increase your body's mobility. Therapists, like those at places like the Illinois Pain Institute, will devise a plan based on your specific osteoarthritis, but stretching, weight lifting, and cardiovascular exercises are necessary for most patients. Through your physical therapy, you will reach the following goals:
- Decreased pain and discomfort
- Restoration of joint and muscle function
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Reduce the possibility of further joint or cartilage loss
- Weight lost for easier mobility
Working with your physical therapist may be challenging due to the pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility. However, with a few sessions, you will see a huge improvement in your osteoarthritis' pain.
A healthy lifestyle should consist of a proper diet and exercise plan, but adding supplements to your daily routine is beneficial, too. While surprising to hear, some supplements can improve the symptoms of your osteoarthritis.
A supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin can restore damaged cartilage, but may also decrease pain when taken daily. A daily fish oil supplement is not only beneficial to your heart, but is anti-inflammatory due to its Omega-3 fatty acids.
Living with osteoarthritis is not the end of the world. While it can be uncomfortable and stressful, understanding the disorder and treating the pain with holistic options will help your life be more fulfilling.