What is Osteoarthritis?

We’ve all heard about it, but what exactly is Osteoarthritis (OA) and who is most commonly affected?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects our joints. In a normal person, there is usually some cartilage that is found between the ends of two bones, for e.g. in your knees, there is a layer of cartilage that helps the two bones either side of the knee glide smoothly along each other. With people who suffer from OA, the cartilage has broken down or has thinned, leaving the ends of the bones unprotected. The obvious outcome, is that the joint can no longer move smoothly, and the patient begins to experience stiffness and pain in the joint.

OA commonly affects people over the age of 40 and it is rare to see it in anyone younger than this. The most common places people experience this ‘wear and tear’ of the joints are the hips, knees, shoulder joint and the thumb, however, any joint in the body can be affected!

So, what causes this disease?

Yep, you guessed it, another reason to start hitting the gym guys! OBESITY is one of the causes of osteoarthritis. If someone is overweight, there will be more load placed on some of the joints in the body, primarily the hips and knees! This increased pressure on the joints causes the cartilage to thin, and hence we get wear and tear of that joint!

Other causes include overuse of the joints, joint injuries, sex (women more likely to develop this), genetics and other diseases such as diabetes.

What are some things that can lead us to believe someone has osteoarthritis?

Joint stiffness first thing in the morning

This stiffness doesn’t last more than 30mins

Pain is persistent

Pain gets worse when that joint is used

the patient is over 40 years of age

Above is an X-ray of someone with this disease. Some things to point out; as can be seen only one knee is affected. We can tell this because the knee on the right (left side when viewing it front on) has less space between the joints, and has an area of increased whiteness indicating that bone is rubbing on bone because of the loss of cartilage.

Chiropractors can help people suffering with OA or prevent the early onset of OA in many ways. Making sure the spine is well aligned can reduce the amount of pressure placed on certain joints. Tailoring a specific exercise and rehab program for patients can also help in preventing OA. Come in and see how we can help you today!!!

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