It happens to all of us – getting up in the morning and feeling those aches and creaks in our joints. That’s Osteroarthritis and it’s the most common joint disorder in folks 50 and older.
Basically, OA is caused by natural wear and tear on a joint. The joint cartilage that cushions our bones breaks down. When it wears away, all that’s left are bones rubbing together. Ouch!
The causes of OA are usually unknown, however if you are over the age of 50, overweight, have a family history or have had a fracture or break in a bone, you will probably experience OA symptoms in your lifetime.
Those symptoms include pain and swelling of the joint, difficulty moving, loss of range of motion and a crackling noise when you move the joint.
If you exercise on a regular basis, you may notice pain and inflammation during your exercise, but that it diminishes when you are resting. Occasionally, you may even experience joint pain at night when you are asleep.
Sadly, there is no cure for any type of arthritis, although there are ways to control the symptoms and reduce the discomfort. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and NSAIDS are helpful in controlling pain. Steroid injections are also an option and of course, surgery for those whose quality of life has been seriously affected by OA.
Many folks find comfort in massage therapy, physical therapy and by taking daily doses of the dietary supplements chondroitin and glucosamine. Mostly, we simply have to find the right mix of these symptom-controlling measures to determine what works best for us individually.
Overall, the best way to avoid OA is to eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and to know your own body’s limitations.
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