Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disease process where loss of articular cartilage, degeneration of the joint and new bone formation occurs simultaneously, typically taking place at the joint margins and surfaces. This process usually is not initially noticed, but over time leads to pain and deformity within the joint and surrounding tissues. OA is commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative disc disease and is the most common of all arthritic pathologies. It is estimated that 30 million Americans suffer from OA. OA commonly occurs in larger joints and in particular those supporting weight. The most common sites are the hips, knees, ankles and spine, but may occur anywhere. Osteoarthritis also occurs where previous injuries have taken place, hence the name “wear and tear”. OA is considered to be age dependent, meaning as we age we increase the likelihood of developing OA.
- What are the causes Osteoarthritis?
- What Are Joints Made Up of ?
- How Does Joint Damage Occur?
- How Will OA Affect Me?
There are several contributory and predisposing factors for OA. These are:
- Ages 50-80
- Repetitive joint injury or overuse
- Joint instability from injury or tissue damage
Joints or “articulations” consist of two or more bones and the connective tissues surrounding them. Cartilage, fluid and membranes within joints help to keep the integrity of the joint moving smoothly without causing contact between the surfaces of the bones, which are made of cartilage. Cartilage and synovial fluid ensures there is free movement of the joint without pain or discomfort. Ligaments and tendons hold joints together and prevent them from instability or separation, where ligaments are direct connections between bones and tendons attach muscle to bone. In some joints, a capsule surrounds the joint, which contains synovial fluid. Synovial fluid acts like motor oil in an engine, ensuring friction and damage do not occur.
As bones within the joint come together through compression by force (running) or excess weight (obesity), pressure increases which leads to inflammation. Higher pressures within the joint causes bone remodeling we know as Osteoarthritis. This remodeling is seen as new bone and known as bone spurs.
OA affects people in many different ways. Duration, severity and type all impact individuals in different ways. Those with OA find there are good and bad days. Most patients with OA generally suffer from discomfort, pain, stiffness and/or fatigue from inactivity.
You may feel frustrated that you are no longer able to get around like you used to or have pain with daily activity around the house. It is important to remember that you do not have to give up having an active lifestyle. With some minor changes to lifestyle and minimal supplementation of required supplements there is no reason why you cannot continue being active and even become more active.
What Can I Do?
Prevention is the best approach for any condition, including osteoarthritis. A comprehensive plan which addresses all the underlying problems is crucial for osteoarthritis resolution. Maintenance of diet, supplementation, and exercise are the best approaches for most. However, for some a more aggressive approach may be through a comprehensive treatment plan, which is necessary to stop osteoarthritis from progressing to surgery or disfigurement. For the approximate 50 million people within the US whom are affected with osteoarthritis, most will be prescribed pharmaceutical medications, undergo surgery or have other treatment options that have serious adverse effects or are dangerous procedures.
Alkalizing the body is also necessary for bone health. AZ MED CENTER achieves this through its comprehensive program. When the body is slightly more alkaline the body is more apt to build bone density. Likewise the opposite is true. When the body is slightly acidic, the body will pull calcium from the bones to buffer the blood, which allows for bone loss and the possibility of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
AZ MED CENTER urges all who have osteoarthritis to look at all treatment options, whether it be prolotherapy, lifestyle modification, acupuncture, pain medications or even surgery, and make the best choice for them.