One of the most common joint pains is caused by osteoarthritis. In the United States alone approximately twenty seven million people are troubled by osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that causes joint pain due to the loss of cartilage that is found in the joint. When this cartilage wears down, it causes the bones to rub one against the other and restricts movement. When there is sufficient cartilage then movement is easier. When there is loss of cartilage and movement is restricted, the person will have joint pain and in more severe cases this may cause a person to fall often.
Although Osteoarthritis is no longer considered an old people’s disease it is still more prevalent in older people than in younger people. Other factors that may be the cause of osteoarthritis are obesity, an injury to the joint due to a fall or sports injury, being genetically predisposed to the disease, weak muscles, and of course, stress.
Osteoarthritis can most often appear in the spine, the knees, and the hips.
If you have joint pain that is attributable to osteoarthritis then there are some things you can do to try to help yourself. A change in your lifestyle should be high on your list of priorities. This would include diet and exercise. A good nutritional diet will help strengthen the bones, and exercise will make the muscles surrounding the bones in the pain area stronger. If you are overweight then it is important that you lose weight. Losing weight enables your bones to carry the weight easier and less painfully and in particular, if the joint pain is in the knees. The knee is the only part of your body that is expected to carry the entire body and support it when we stand, sit, kneel, run, or anything else. If you are overweight, your knees cannot perform their duty properly hence, joint pain becomes their cry for help.
There are over the counter pain relief drugs that can help your joint pain if you are in the early stages of osteoarthritis. Such over the counter drugs as Tylenol are helpful.
If the pain of osteoarthritis becomes intense then seeing your health care professional should be on your to-do list, and the sooner the better. There are prescription medications that can help your joint pain. If the pain is in your knees you may consider talking to your health care professional about cortisone shots.
What are your treatment options?
If you live in in the Philadelphia, Camden or Cherry Hill area, there are several options that you have access to in order to alleviate joint pain due to osteoarthritis. When the cartilage is totally worn out then a hip or knee replacement may be in order. However, there are non-surgical alternatives that have been highly successful in treating osteoarthritis as well.
One of our most common and effective treatments for osteoarthritis is viscosupplementation therapy. This procedure involves the injection of gel-like substances (hyaluronates) into a joint to supplement the viscous properties of synovial fluid. This substance is found in the synovial (joint) fluid and acts as a lubricant which allows bones to move over each other smoothly. This procedure has proven to be highly successful in reducing the pain associated with osteoarthritis and is generally covered by most major medical insurance providers and Medicare.
The Atlantic Spine & Joint Institute has completed a comprehensive training regimen to become trained and certified in viscosupplementation procedures. The Atlantic Spine and Joint Institute is one of only four facilities in the state of New Jersey certified to perform this procedure.