Osteoarthritis: symptoms and treatment

Osteoarthritis is a disease that mainly affects people of retirement age. According to statistics, 50% of people aged 60 and older and most of people aged 80 years are sick, but the disease is sometimes fixed in young people. The disease involves the destruction of the structure of the joints, cartilage deformities, as well as changes in the capsule of the joints. Most often the disease affects the spine, knee structures, hips and joints of the hands.

As a result of the development of the disease, the joint mechanism that connects the ends of the bones becomes inflamed, which causes bleeding in the joint cavity. This reduces the functioning of the joint mechanisms. The disease involves softening the cartilage and forming holes in them. The patient thus feels pain when moving, when the muscles affect the cartilage of the damaged area. The popular name of the disease is «deposition of salts.»

Causes of the disease

Experts for decades considered that osteoarthritis is a natural process that can not be avoided, but to date doctors recognize the existence of certain factors leading to its development. They are:

  • age changes in the body. It is known that the cartilage with age lose its elasticity, and this affects the resistance to stress;
  • Excess weight. This increases the joint load and speeds up the appearance of the disease;
  • previous injuries. This may be a dislocation, fracture or other minor injuries;
  • belonging to certain professions. They are, for example, football players, miners or other workers whose work involves high articular loads
  • heredity. It can have an impact, but it does not always happen.

Symptoms of the disease

Osteoarthritis often does not have a large number of symptoms — often the first stages of the disease and completely asymptomatic, although on the x-ray you can already see the deforming effects for the cartilage. The main sign of the presence of osteoarthritis is joint pain, which manifests itself after prolonged physical exertion or in the long-term stay in one position. The pain usually abates after rest or massage, so patients often write off it for normal fatigue. In some cases, people may feel the following symptoms:

  1. Feelings. It is often accompanied by aching pain, which does not have a clear localization. Its intensity varies from the degree of the disease. As osteoarthritis progresses, pain sensations increase and arise even with minimal physical exertion. Stiffness is characterized by difficulties in the beginning of the movement of the joints and quickly passes;
  2. increase the joint in volume. Its swelling is due to the appearance of irritation on the synovium, which in turn causes a large amount of fluid to be released to lubricate the cartilage. Most often observed in the spine, thigh and knee areas;
  3. occurrence of osteophytes. They occur most often in women after 40 years of age and can limit movement, but can be asymptomatic.

Diagnosis of the disease

Osteoarthritis, unlike other ailments, does not provide for changes in blood test results. To exclude other forms of arthritis, the doctor can prescribe a special test to the patient, and also during the examination, ask him to characterize the pain sensations and their localization. After that, he can prescribe the patient with an X-ray examination, on which all the deforming factors will be revealed. In addition to X-rays, in diagnosis of joint disease can help ultrasound, as well as thermographic study.

Treatment of the disease

Osteoarthritis of the deforming type can often not be cured completely, but its treatment helps to slow the manifestations of the disease. If the patient has turned in time to the doctor, then if the balance of nutrition, the presence of special physical loads, the progression of the disease will be prevented. Treatment of osteoarthritis is selected taking into account the age and physical activity of the patient, the severity of the disease. It includes such measures:

  • the presence of special exercises of the therapeutic and exercise complex (LFK), which will help to strengthen weakened muscles, improve blood circulation and will knead joints;
  • the rhythm of physical activity, which involves the presence of phases of activity and rest phases to accelerate the restoration of knee joints
  • the availability of proper nutrition, which will help to reduce weight and will act as a building material for articular cartilage
  • physiotherapy;
  • medication to reduce pain or reduce synovial fluid production
  • surgery;
  • folk methods of treatment.

Osteoarthritis, as a rule, doctors begin to treat with medication. Taking medications aimed at removing inflammation often has side effects. Drugs that are prescribed to the patient belong to the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They include Xefokam, Ibuprofen and others.

If deforming osteoarthritis is in the last stages (when disruptions in the development of the knee or hip joint suggest serious deformity, making it difficult for the patient to move), surgical intervention is used.

In addition, an excellent auxiliary (and the first stage of the disease — the main) method of therapy are physiotherapy. They are able to increase blood circulation, improve metabolism, and also to remove symptoms of inflammation and pain. Physiotherapeutic procedures include:

  1. Electrophoresis;
  2. phonophoresis
  3. electrical shock
  4. irradiation with ultraviolet rays
  5. Thermal procedures
  6. taking baths with iodine, bromine.

Effective is the treatment of osteoarthritis with the help of exercise therapy. All exercises should be matched by a doctor, taking into account the age characteristics of the patient, his physical indicators. A person should perform a sports complex every day, however, the main contraindication to performing gymnastics is pain at physical exertion.

Diet in the disease includes eating a large number of vegetables and fruits, with the exception of potatoes and grapes. You can also include in the diet of lean meat (turkey, chicken without skin, rabbit meat). Fast carbohydrates should be replaced with slow (porridges, muesli, macaroni from hard wheat varieties). You can eat dairy products, beans.