If you often hear your joints squeezing, you are in pain and you find it difficult to move in situations that previously seemed piece of cake, then maybe osteoarthritis came to visit you! What is osteoarthritis, how you know it threatens you and what can you do to deal with it?
What Is Osteoarthritis?
This is the most characteristic type of arthritis and the most common chronic disease of our joints! Normally, the bones that contact in a joint are covered by the cartilage, an elastic tissue that acts as a cushion, thus protecting against friction and facilitating movement.
In osteoarthritis the cartilage begins to thin and gradually breaks down, causing pain, swelling and difficulty in movement (1). It can affect any joint in the body, but most common is hip osteoarthritis, but also on knees and legs since these are the areas most burdened by body weight. There are few who suffer from shoulder osteoarthritis and hand osteoarthritis, especially those who are involved in manual labor.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary, depending on the affected joints and the stage of the condition. The most typical symptoms are pain and stiffness.
The most affected joints tend to swell after intense or long-term activity. Because of the inflammation that develops, you may notice redness and mild swelling around a joint.
On the other hand, stiffness is observed mainly in hips, knees and in the low back after immobility, especially after waking up in the morning or after rest periods. Once you start to move the phenomenon smoothes.
Clicking and Cracking
When you start listening to various sounds with the slightest movement you do, then your body is shouting that something is wrong! Often there is a sense of friction in our various movements, especially in the knee region.
When our body understands the existence of the problem it tries to repair the damage often with the creation of a new bone! These are the so-called “osteophytes” which are often seen in the joints of the fingers as small bumps (2). However, this effort of our body is unsuccessful. Although osteophytes themselves are not a source of pain, they often cause pressure on the surrounding nerves leading to painful conditions.
How can we deal with osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis and Exercise
Increasing physical activity is one of the most effective ways to control osteoarthritis. As much as the thought of exercise seems repulsive at the time you feel pain, it is actually a very important part of your treatment.
Choose mild exercises like walking, swimming or a light program at your neighborhood’s gym. Strengthen exercises will help you build muscles arround the bones, thus contributing to reduce the burden on the joints.
Osteoarthritis and Healthy Body Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is key to treating osteoarthritis, as excess weight adds more pressure to the joints, especially the hips, knees, feet and waist. Slimming can help people with osteoarthritis reduce pain and further damage to the cartilage.
Osteoarthritis and Supplements
Now there are many dietary supplements for osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two substances normally synthesized by the body, but with the years their production starts to decrease. Their supplementation contributes to the health of the cartilage.
MSM or else methylsulfonylmethane is a natural dietary form of organic sulfur that can relieve pain and inflammation in the joints! In addition, hyaluronic acid that absorbs many times its weight in water can help hydration and elasticity of connective tissues around the joints, while vitamin C helps in collagen production!
Make changes in your everyday life and gradually see the symptoms go away. Help your body deal with osteoarthritis and ask for help from experts!
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