Osteoarthritis is brought about by damage to, or the breakdown of, cartilage that sits between the bones. Generally speaking, this transformation of the underlying bone is gradual, and becomes more serious over time. However, right from the get-go, OA can create swelling, stiffness and pain; and in the case of some sufferers, disability and reduced function becomes the norm. – And when these scenarios do occur, then some of the affected individuals are not able to go to work or conduct normal daily tasks.
So What Are the Signs of Osteoarthritis?
• Painful joints
• Aching joints
• Stiff joints
• Swelling around the joints
• Decreased flexibility
• Restricted range of motion
What Are the Risk Factors For Getting Osteoarthritis?
There are quite a number of different factors, these include:
• Joint overuse or injury. – For example, knee bending and continual stress on a joint, can bring about joint damage, and thus heighten the chance of acquiring OA
• Getting older – the risk of developing osteoarthritis goes up as we age
• Obesity – being overweight generates more stress for the joints, and this is especially so in weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. – And so these stressed joints raise the risk of osteoarthritis. Moreover, this risk can be compounded by the metabolic effects brought about by being obese
• Gender – women are more inclined to develop osteoarthritis compared to their male counterparts, particularly if they are more than 50 years of age
• Genetics – those with family members who suffer from osteoarthritis, are more likely to develop it themselves
• Individuals who have OA in their hands, are more inclined to develop OA of the knees
• Ethnicity – some Asian populations have a lesser chance of developing osteoarthritis
When Should I Have a Diagnosis?
If you have any of the above mentioned ‘Signs of Osteoarthritis,’ book an appointment to see a Pain Specialist as soon as possible. He/she will review your medical history, and ask you various questions about your pain (so keeping a ‘Pain Diary’ which lists the times of day, and what you were doing, when your pain is at its worse, is a good idea). The doctor will then conduct a physical examination, and if necessary, administer specific tests, and arrange an x-ray.
The Pain Specialist will then explain his/her findings in easy to understand, layman’s terms, and tell you about the most appropriate conventional and cutting-edge treatments for your particular needs, which will be presented in the form of a holistic Personal Treatment Plan. – You will be able to embark on various elements of this plan right away, and thus work to negate any further damage to your joint/s.
. Centers for Disease Control (2020). “What is osteoarthritis (OA)?”