What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is one of the types of arthritis that is caused due to degeneration and eventually loss of the cartilage of joints. Cartilage is a tissue that covers the inside of the joints and acts as a cushion between the two bones forming a joint. When the cartilage starts undergoing degeneration, the bone becomes inflamed as its protective covering is lost. This causes pain during weight bearing activities such as standing, walking, etc.

Causes:

Osteoarthritis occurs commonly as a person ages and it is frequently seen in persons above the age of 55 years though it can also occur earlier than this. Before the age of 45 years, it is more common in males. Genetic predisposition also is one common cause for osteoarthritis. This condition usually affects the weight bearing joints such as the knees and hips; it can also affect other joints such as those of the hands, feet and the spine

When the osteoarthritis is due to ageing process it is known as primary osteoarthritis; when there are other conditions in the background that have triggered this disorder, it is known as Secondary osteoarthritis. Secondary osteoarthritis can be caused by any of the following:

  • Trauma

  • Joint surgery

  • Obesity

  • Congenital anomalies of the joint

  • Gout

  • Diabetes

  • Hormonal disorders (especially Growth hormone disorders)

Symptoms: 

The common symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

  • Pain and stiffness of the affected joint

  • Swelling and warmth of the joint

  • Creaking of the joint

  • Pain is usually worse after repetitive use of the joint

  • Stiffness is usually worse after a long period of inactivity

  • Pain may occur at rest too (in severe cases)

  • Limited mobility of joints

  • Inability to squat

  • Bony enlargement of small joints of fingers (called Heberden’s nodules)

Spine osteoarthritis can cause:

  • Neck pain and stiffness

  • Backache

  • Tingling numbness of extremities.


Self-Care at Home

Lifestyle changes may delay or limit osteoarthritis symptoms.

  • Weight loss: One study suggested that, for women, weight loss may reduce the risk for osteoarthritis in the knee.

  • Exercise: Regular exercise may help to strengthen the muscles and potentially stimulate cartilage growth. Avoid high-impact sports. The following types of exercise are recommended: range of motion, strengthening, and aerobic.

Prevention

No absolute way to prevent osteoarthritis is available. But lifestyle changes may reduce or limit symptoms.

Homeopathic treatment:

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the pathological changes in the joint are almost irreversible. Homeopathic medicine can alleviate the pain significantly but cannot cure the disease completely. Most cases respond well as far as the long-term pain relief is concerned. Homeopathic medicines are definitely suggested for osteoarthritis, especially for early cases where the medicines can slow down the degenerative process and offer considerable pain relief.