- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Osteoarthritis: Dealing With the Pain
What Is Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It can sometimes be called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis. Osteoarthritis affects only the joints and can deteriorate regular joint function. It can cause pain and stiffness in joints.
Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage specifically. In healthy people, the cartilage cushions the joints together. The cartilage is a hard yet slippery tissue that serves as a gel-like coating which covers the ends of bones that forms the joints together. What happens to the sufferer is that the cartilage is gradually thinning and loses its function as cushion to the ends of the joints. Over time, when the cartilage wears out completely, the joints of the person can rub together therefore causing pain and stiffness to the affected joint. When left untreated, bone spurs may occur.
What are Bone Spurs?
Bone spurs are also called osteophytes. They grow in a joint in the absence of cartilage. Bone spurs are bones that grow on the edges of the joints.
What Are the Causes of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can often be developed through age, joint injuries, joint malformation, or a defect in joint cartilage. It can also be more common in people who are overweight or whose jobs stress certain joints.
Osteoarthritis are classified either as primary or secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is diagnosed if the sufferer acquires it through heredity or stresses on weight bearing joints. Secondary osteoarthritis is classified if the sufferer acquires it through traumatic injuries and repetitive joint injuries.
Some of the causes of osteoarthritis are trauma and injury on a particular joint, repetitive stress on a certain joint, poor posture that causes poor alignment of the bones, developmental abnormalities in certain joints, metabolic disorders, obesity, aging, and cartilage damage.
How Serious Is Osteoarthritis
What differs osteoarthritis in other kinds of arthritis is that when a joint is affected, the other joints are usually not affected. If ever more than one joint is affected, the degree of the damage and pain of the joints affected are usually not the same. One joint can be more severely affected than the others.
Osteoarthritis affects only the joints. It does not affect the other parts of the body such as the skin or the blood vessels. It also does not make the person feel sick or feverish. The only pain they would feel are the joint pains they have. It’s usually not accompanied by other discomfort or pain.
Osteoarthritis more often appears in the fingers, knees, hips, lower back, and the back of the neck. It affects different people differently. Some people can feel very little to no discomfort at all while others may experience severe pain. In other people where significant pain is being felt, it can affect the person’s day to day activities and some can suffer from serious disabilities. By far, the most serious form of osteoarthritis are those that occur in the knees, hips and the spine.
The only known prevention of osteoarthritis is to not overuse a certain joint and to avoid injuries. Otherwise, there is very little known causes of the disease except that in most cases, it is a hereditary disease that can be passed on from parent to offspring.