Medication, surgery, massage, exercise, and diet are proven ways to reduce OA pain and stiffness
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition in which the smooth white tissue, covering the ends of the bones in a joint, starts to deteriorate progressively. The white tissue ensures enough lubrication that enables the bones to slide over each other without much friction. The thinning of this layer due to overuse or injuries suffered leads to acute inflammation and stiffness of the affected joints as well as limits mobility.
People aged 60 and above are at a greater risk of OA; and women older than 50 are more likely to have OA than men. Even so, OA is not entirely an age-related health problem. Apparently, individuals in their 20s and 30s are being diagnosed with OA, arising from obesity or injuries caused by participation in high-intensity sports, physical activities or accidents. Besides, young people with preexisting ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and haemophilia have higher chances of developing OA. Medication, surgery, massage, exercise, and diet are some proven ways to reduce OA pain and stiffness, depending on the severity of the condition.
Medication, to be specific, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Naproxen, and Diclofenac are recommended for improving joint functioning and reducing pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) is generally used to target severe pain. NSAIDs and Acetaminophen constitute the first level of treatment for OA. However, they may cause side effects, especially beyond a certain dosage and may not be appropriate for individuals with certain pre-existing conditions. In some cases, OA patients respond better if a corticosteroid is injected directly into a swollen joint, which can bring the inflammation under control in 1-4 weeks, without any adverse effects in the longer term.
*Please consult your doctor and/ or physician, to discuss changes to you therapy or medication that are suitable for you and your OA condition.
Surgery, usually performed by an orthopedic surgeon, can relieve pain and stiffness of the joints to a great extent, where medication proves to be insufficient. Based on age, the severity of pain, and other factors, surgeons recommend replacement of the entire diseased joint or part of the joint with artificial parts made of plastic, ceramic, or metal. Such artificial parts (prosthesis) are designed to last up to 20 years.
Studies suggest that Massage by a trained therapist can relax and soothe the muscles around the affected joint and improve mobility. Applying a hot pack 2-3 times a day for about half an hour can relieve joint pain. Likewise, putting an ice pack on a swollen joint for about 20 minutes can ease the pain. Make sure to introduce a piece of cloth between the ice pack and the skin.
Exercise ranks among the best non-drug treatments for OA. Mild to moderate physical activities like 30 minutes of brisk walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming, and basic stretches are generally recommended for people with OA to help warm up the muscles and joints.
People with osteoarthritis must consider a Low-cholesterol Diet that includes food rich in anti-inflammatory properties and capable of improving bone strength. Some examples are oily fish, safflower oils, milk, yoghurt, spinach, broccoli, green tea, garlic, and nuts.
*Please consult your doctor and/ or physician, to discuss changes to you diet, lifestyle or therapy that work best for your osteoarthritis.
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