Osteoarthritis is a condition where there is a breakdown in the cartilage joints. Although this is not debilitating enough compared to rheumatoid arthritis but those who suffered from this condition often find it difficult to move their joint because of pain. The affected joints are the weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, shoulders, and ankles. Although it can happen to fingers joints and wrists but rarely.
The cartilage helps prevent the two edges of the bones to rub one another. It gets its nutrients from the joint fluid called synovial fluid and act as a sponge to absorb them. When the joint is bent, waste products are released and when it relaxes there is an absorption of nutrients and oxygen. It is important to be able to control the movement of joint as well as keep them moving.
As mentioned, there is a breakdown in the cartilage of the joints causing friction and due to this if there is a thinning in this structure which results to inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the joint and joint pain when it is moved. However, it is not often times clear what causes the breakdown but it is mostly attributed to years of wear and tear and the body's inability to cope up and repair the damage. Other factors that contribute to osteoarthritis are history of trauma to the joint, excess body weight, unusual stress on a joint through repetitive activity like playing sport and typing. There are also those who have misalignment of their joints that subjects the part of the joint to unusual stresses like those who are bow-legged (genu varum), and knock-kneed (genu valgum).
It affects men and women and the symptoms often appear during the age of 40s to 50s. Signs of arthritis are often seen on X-rays for those who are over 60 years old. The condition is considered chronic but it rarely progresses and become worse. There are many who are symptom-free and only few are severely disabled by the disease.
One of the important relief for osteoarthritis is to do gentle movement of the joint. This is also called range-of-motion exercises or ROM. This will help decrease joint stiffness and ease pain. It is important that when doing the exercise, the joint is free of stress. Joint preservation is also crucial. One should learn to minimize using the joint and let it rest once in a while.
Home remedies that are effective in decreasing pain by using heat and cold. Having hot shower, baths or heating pads to improve flexibility is also of great benefit. This is done before doing any exercise and other physical activity. Cold packs help numb a certain joint that is painful.
Other natural treatments include drinking water high that has high alkaline content. Fresh apple juice and carrots are also an excellent choice because it has many nutrients. Chewing ginger is also effective since it has an anti-inflammatory agent. Boiling grated ginger roots and drink as a regular cup of tea with added honey is quite beneficial especially if taken twice a day. Turmeric, Yucca and castor oil also helps reduce inflammation and decrease pain.
Eating lots of blueberries, cherries, and hawthorn berries will also help for it enhances collagen matrix integrity of the joint.