Will physical therapy relieve all my osteoarthritis symptoms?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Also called degenerative joint disease, it is caused by wear and tear on the joints that causes cartilage to break down. Cartilage is an important structural component that is firm yet flexible tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. The main function of cartilage is to prevent friction in the joints and also act as a shock absorber.
Cartilage tends to become stiff and lose its flexibility due to osteoarthritis and is more prone to damage. When cartilage breaks down, its ability to act as a shock absorber also decreases, causing ligaments and tendons to stretch, leading to pain. As time passes, the cartilage breaks down completely and the bones tend to rub against each other, causing severe pain.
Osteoarthritis mainly affects middle-aged and older people, with women more prone than men. The joints most prone to osteoarthritis are the joints of the hands, as well as weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and ankles, and the spine, but any joint can be affected. The pain worsens with activity and improves with rest.
obesity: Being overweight puts enormous pressure on weight-bearing joints such as the spine, knees, and hips, causing cartilage to break down and bones to rub against each other, resulting in pain.
old age: As you age, your joints wear and break normally, resulting in osteoarthritic pain.
Injury: An injury to the joint from an accident or sports injury can lead to osteoarthritis.
Overuse of the joints: When certain joints are overused, osteoarthritis tends to develop in those joints.
Genetics: The genes responsible for cartilage formation may be defective in some, leading to osteoarthritis.
Bone deformities: Any bone deformity, joint malformation, or cartilage deformity can lead to osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured and the effects cannot be reversed, but symptoms can be effectively managed with medications, lifestyle modifications, physical and other therapies, and surgery. The following are the treatments available for osteoarthritis
Over-the-counter medications: There are several over-the-counter medications available for pain relief, including acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These have been effective in managing pain, but they all come with various side effects.
Topical Medications: Medications are also available in the form of ointments, sprays, and creams that can be applied to the painful area to relieve pain and inflammation.
Ayurvedic: Ayurveda recommends a holistic approach in the treatment of this degenerative condition that includes diet and lifestyle changes, the administration of internal medications that are completely natural and herbal, and also the use of therapies to treat degenerative joint conditions. There are many medicines in Ayurveda that help to strengthen the joints and reduce degeneration. A professional Ayurvedic doctor can customize and formulate an effective treatment plan that works for each individual. Therapies like Tailadhara (pouring of medicated oils), Nhavarakkizhi (massage with bolus of rice boiled in medicated milk) and Ksheeravasthi are among the most effective therapies to prevent degeneration and strengthen joints. It is very important to note that if there is associated inflammation, antidegenerative therapy is recommended only after the inflammation is under control.
Physical therapy: A personalized exercise program can be created to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joints and also increase range of motion and reduce pain with the help of a physical therapist or regular gentle exercises such as swimming, walking, jogging which can be done by our bill. have been effective in treating osteoarthritis.
Occupational therapy: Occupational therapists can help figure out ways to do everyday activities, as well as get work done without straining already sore joints, such as suggesting using a stool when showering to relieve pain caused by standing when affected for osteoarthritis of the knees.
Yoga: Yoga has been shown to be very effective in reducing the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Also yoga involves breathing techniques that help reduce stress in life. However, it is very important to get the help of an instructor before doing yoga to avoid injury and further pain.
Surgery and other procedures
In case conservative therapies fail,
Cortisone injections: Cortisone injections can relieve pain, but should be limited to three or four, as they can worsen joint damage over time.
Hyaluronic injections: This injection provides lubrication between the joints, which helps relieve pain.
Bone realignment: When one side is more damaged than the other, an osteotomy procedure may be performed to remove or add a wedge of bone, which helps shift body weight away from the worn part.
Joint replacement: Plastic or metal parts are used in place of damaged joints in severe cases of osteoarthritis.