As we age, our bodies change drastically, often due to general wear and tear from use over the years. Osteoarthritis (often referred to by the acronym “OA”) is a condition in which joint cartilage is damaged over time, and is actually the most commonly diagnosed type of arthritis. Although osteoarthritis is more common in the elderly, it can occur at any age, and occurs most often in the knees, hands and/or spine. When osteoarthritis occurs in the spine specifically, sufferers may find it painful and difficult to bend or twist as they once could, eliminating a very broad range of motion.
Osteoarthritis is generally characterized by such symptoms as:
- A painful, grating feeling at the joint
- Tenderness around the joint area
- Stiffness and loss of range of motion
- Related conditions like bone spurs
For some sufferers of osteoarthritis, these symptoms are mild and may come and go over time. For unfortunate others, the pain, swelling and/or stiffness are severely debilitating, and may be chronic. Still others may find that their condition worsens progressively until they are essentially immobilized by their ailments.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is as of yet incurable, and tends to worsen progressively over time. However, sufferers of osteoarthritis can slow this progression and ease symptoms by maintaining a proper regimen of exercise, a healthy diet, and appropriate anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications. Conditions like obesity can increase stress on the body’s joints, leading to quicker degeneration of joint cartilage over time and an increased risk of experiencing osteoarthritis (perhaps even with an earlier, more severe onset).
Osteoarthritis can be an upsetting, debilitating condition, and may keep you from enjoying your life to the fullest. If you are or think you may be suffering from osteoarthritis, get in contact with our clinic and let Dr. Neece and his staff help you find your way back to proper joint health.