Osteoarthritis: what it is and how to treat it effectively

examination of joints with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis - Among the joint diseases, osteoarthritis is well known and widespread. What is it and how to treat it? What are the symptoms of the disease and what are its main causes?

What is osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a disease that has a destructive effect on the joints, due to which cartilage degradation occurs within them.

A long period of disease course leads to a change in bone endings, and inflammatory processes destroy nearby tissues.

The list of joint diseases associated with osteoarthritis is not small and is a group of diseases that have a similar devastating effect, but have different causes and processes.

According to statistics obtained, up to 80% of the population suffers from various types of osteoarthritis, which makes it the most common joint disease. The disease is so common that it ranks third after oncology and cardiovascular disease.

Due to not adhering to a healthy lifestyle, over time, the risk of disease increases significantly.

Osteoarthritis is not such a major disease and can affect both men and women, acting more faithfully only on the interphalangeal joints. People over the age of 30 are susceptible to the disease and over time their number increases without hindrance.

Causes of osteoarthritis

The reason for the appearance of osteoarthritis and such treatment is a violation of metabolic processes in the joints. This leads to a loss of cartilage strength and elasticity.

The reason for this is a significant decrease or complete disappearance of proteoglycans from them due to large cracks in the cartilage.

Other reasons may also contribute to this, for example, a violation of the normal production of proteoglycans by the cells themselves.

Other causes that have a destructive effect on the joints:

  • violation of metabolic processes throughout the body;
  • deterioration of the hormonal background;
  • slowing of blood circulation in the joints;
  • hereditary causes;
  • old age;
  • various injuries;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • psoriasis.

But the main reason is the non-observance of normal loads on the joints in everyday life.

Due to their unpreparedness, a person's unwillingness to perform physical exercises in a timely manner, heat to strengthen the joints - cartilage is not able to fully perform its functions.

An extensive list of causes that can cause osteoarthritis:

  • previous injuries, such as dislocations, fractures, bruises, broken ligaments and others;
  • violation of metabolic processes that support endurance;
  • excess body weight, which leads to excessive stress on the joints;
  • acute purulent arthritis leading to joint inflammation;
  • old age;
  • malnutrition;
  • prolonged excessive decrease in body temperature;
  • autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis;
  • body poisoning;
  • frequent colds;
  • specific diseases: syphilis, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, tick-borne encephalitis;
  • thyroid diseases;
  • hemophilia;
  • Peters disease.

Other genetic causes of osteoarthritis include:

  • osteoarthritis of the hands and fingers can be inherited, as evidenced by scientists who have studied the Bouchard and Heberden joints;
  • in the case of dysplasia, which has developed as a result of violation of the formation of joints in the prenatal period, excessive wear of the joints and the development of osteoarthritis may occur;
  • Mutations in type 2 collagen can lead to disruption of the internal structure of connective tissue fibrillar protein and cartilage degradation.

If you are a bricklayer, miner, fisherman, porter or your activity is to some extent associated with excessive physical exertion, then without taking any preventive measures it is possible to get osteoarthritis as well.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

For a full understanding of what osteoarthritis is and how it is treated, we will deal with external manifestations.

The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are: the appearance of pain during stress on the joint, which may decrease at rest; deterioration of ankle motor functions; the appearance of crunches; sensation of muscle tension around the affected wrist.

The main thing is not to allow long-term tumors, as they can lead to an early deformity of the joint.

Four symptoms of osteoarthritis

  1. Manifestations of pain. They are considered as the first message about joint osteoarthritis. Although the culprits of pain can be a variety of reasons, but in the case of osteoarthritis, pain has several characteristics. The main thing is the presence of sharp pains that appear during movement at the site of the damaged joint. The pain disappears after minimizing functional activity. At night, the pain is practically not manifested in any way, only with fists from one side to the other, slight discomfort may appear. In a state of immobility, pain can only appear in advanced forms. At this time, the process of falling asleep can be difficult. Symptoms reappear early in the morning. As the disease progresses, a person needs more and more time to rest and heal. Even later, even at rest, the pain does not stop, turning life into constant toil. There is an almost complete consumption of cartilage, as a result of which the bone is exposed, the osteophytes are erased.
  2. The appearance of crunches. A symptom that should not be overlooked. Chewing occurs due to the rubbing of the bones against each other, because the softness between them decreases - as a result, a special "dry" sound appears. Although, it can also happen with other diseases, and sometimes even when the joints are healthy. In severe forms of the disease, the sound may become more pronounced and the pain intensifies.
  3. Decreased joint mobility. This is an additional symptom that does not accompany osteoarthritis in the initial stages, however, in a neglected condition, it stimulates excessive growth of interosseous formations, which leads to spasms, and the gap between the joints is almost completely overloaded. And this is the main reason for the loss of mobility.
  4. Joint deformity. This symptom implies degrading changes in the joint surfaces due to increased osteophytes and synovial fluid leakage. It is one of the most recent symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Due to alternating periods of remission and deterioration, self-diagnosis of osteoarthritis is much more difficult. Therefore, it is not enough to rely only on personal feelings - the help of a specialist is required.

Diagnosis - osteoarthritis

To detect possible signs that indicate the presence of the disease and the degree of its complexity, a study using radiography is used:

  • In the first stage, osteophytes are not yet present, and the gap between the joints is narrowed minimally.
  • The second stage is characterized by shrinkage of the articular space, with slight appearance of osteophytes.
  • In the third stage, the reduction of the joint space is clearly visible, a large number of osteophytes are formed, deformation processes begin to occur.
  • In the last fourth stage, the gap between the joints almost completely disappears, the maximum possible number of osteophytes appears, the deformation processes are in full motion.

Negative consequences of osteoarthritis

Ignoring timely treatment of osteoarthritis not only brings about complete irreversible damage to the joints, but also provokes spinal cord injury.

Herniated discs can form in the intervertebral discs. Osteoarthritis can spread to other, still healthy joints.

Treatment methodology

Like any other dangerous disease, it is best not to start treatment but to carry it out at an early stage.

Treatment methods should be comprehensive and aim to eliminate the links that contribute to the progression of the disease, as well as strengthen those factors that aid in healing.

What's so special about treating osteoarthritis? An integrated approach to therapy consists of the use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.

However, physiotherapy courses are mandatory. In the case of choosing the treatment with the sanitary-resort method, the climatic conditions should be chosen in such a way that the effect on the joints is as favorable as possible.

The program should include procedures in mineral waters and mud baths.

The essence of osteoarthritis treatment is as follows:

  • Diseased joints should be subjected to loads as little as possible, it is especially important to take this into account in the treatment process;
  • You can not ignore the orthopedic regimen;
  • Mandatory physical exercises to improve health;
  • Performing physiotherapeutic procedures, such as: electro-procedures, shock wave procedures, laser therapy;
  • Sanatorium recovery - prescribed by a doctor and recommended for transfer to special resorts once a year;
  • Performing oxygen therapy - introduction of oxygen into the joints;
  • Medical treatment;
  • Intraosseous blockade;
  • Switching to a healthy diet.

Types of drug treatment

  • Means that eliminate inflammatory processes. By performing a complex treatment, there is a chance to significantly slow down the course of the disease, thus saving yourself from pain in the future. The medical method of treatment involves relieving pain and removing inflammatory processes in the joints. For these purposes, drugs of non-steroidal origin are selected. They are often administered intravenously or intramuscularly, as their oral use may cause irritation of the stomach walls. Various ointments are used as an adjunct medicine, but due to poor absorption by the body, they have little effectiveness, so they are used very rarely.
  • Hormonal corticosteroids. Such drugs are prescribed when the disease worsens. They are inserted into the joints. An ointment, plaster or tincture of chili pepper is applied to the damaged joint from the outside.
  • Use of chondroprotectors. They will help regenerate cartilage, in addition, they will improve the properties of synovial fluid. Drugs such as glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate are prescribed.

The time of use of these drugs can be long and does not stop until the patient becomes significantly better.

If the drugs do not give the expected positive effect, their use is canceled.

In parallel with chondroprotectors, you should take products with the addition of hyaluronic acid, which helps in the formation of cell membranes in the articular cartilage.

In very rare cases, when no other drug has a positive effect, narcotic analgesics may be prescribed.

Healthy eating for patients with osteoarthritis

Nutrition is probably the most important issue to be addressed as soon as the condition worsens with osteoarthritis. With whatever medication the patient is treated with, with improper nutrition, all of these efforts may be in vain.

First of all, eat in moderation. For those who are overweight, you need to lose weight urgently, but you should not force yourself to starve, as the body needs to constantly get all the trace elements in sufficient quantities.

You should limit yourself to using fast carbohydrates contained in sweet foods as well as flour products. Avoid alcohol, especially beer.

Fish dishes are welcome. It is worth choosing low-fat varieties and fish should not be fried.

The use of jelly is recommended for osteoarthritis. Since it contains a large amount of trace elements, it will be useful for diseased joints.

The collagen contained in it is of natural origin, which means that it is easily absorbed by the body and will serve as the basis for connective tissue. With prolonged use of jelly, the joints will become more mobile, and nearby tissues will become elastic and stable.

An important factor in medication is the timely use of a sufficient amount of vitamins, especially group B. They ensure the normalization of metabolic processes in the body. Thiamine, contained in beans and peas, will improve the metabolic process of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

In order for hemoglobin to be produced in the blood, pyridoxine is needed. This substance is rich in potatoes, bananas, cabbage and nuts. Riboflavin is rich in eggs, liver, dairy products and mushrooms.

Legumes and vegetables will provide the body with folic acid. The industry offers a wide range of vitamin preparations and dietary supplements.

However, vitamins and micronutrients obtained from food are better absorbed by the body, which is an important factor in the process of cartilage tissue restoration.

It is necessary to adhere to certain rules of nutrition in the treatment of osteoarthritis

  • Food should be frequent and in small portions;
  • You can not eat before bed, you should refuse food that is heavy on the stomach;
  • To relieve the load on the injured joints, it is necessary to control the weight and prevent obesity;
  • Walking after meals during forgiveness is a helpful prevention of worsening joint diseases;
  • Choosing or adjusting your diet along with your doctor will ensure the right balanced diet.

Thus, it is possible to defeat osteoarthritis. It is important to adhere to the treatment methodology and listen to the advice of the attending physician.