July 30, 2013

What Is Osteoarthritis And How Do You Treat It?

Osteoarthritis or OA of the knee, is one of the most common reported occupational illnesses, and can be related to workers in the mining industry, carpet and floor fitters and occupations that involve a lot of walking, such as postmen & women, and jobs that involve a lot of kneeling, squatting and lifting heavy weights.

Osteoarthritis, which is sometimes called wear and tear arthritis, is caused when the natural cushioning between the knee joints, the cartilage, degenerates. This causes the bones to rub together with no protection from the cartilage, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling and can make daily activities, such as bending down to pick up the newspaper or the mail, more difficult. As the symptoms get worse, bones may break down and cause growths, also known as spurs. Parts of the bone may even break off and float around in the cavity of the joint.


Diagnosing osteoarthritis is not done through one specific test, but once the symptoms start, your GP will examine you and will review your medical history to see if there are any previous injuries to your knees. He will also look for the bony growths, spurs, how your joints move and how stable it is. An x-ray may also be taken of the effected joints which would show if the cavity between the bones has reduced due to the deterioration of the cartilage and can also see if there are any extra bone growths or pieces of bone and cartilage floating around the joints.

No Cure

Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, however, there are treatments available that can ease the symptoms, to improve your everyday life. If treatments make things worse there is also the option of a clinical negligence compensation claim. Over the counter pain-killers can temporarily ease the pain although for prolonged pain free periods, stronger medication would be required, which comes in two forms, Acetaminophen, are remedies that reduce the pain but not the swelling and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAID, which relieve pain and reduce swelling as well as lessening any fevers.

There are also self-help remedies which can ease your symptoms and increase your overall physical fitness. These exercises include flexibility exercises such as bending and twisting everyday to improve your range of motion and reduce stiffness. This can also keep the joints loose and flexible.


Strengthening exercises such as weight lifting can help build your muscles and keep your joint supporting structure stable. Endurance or aerobic exercises at least three times a week will increase your overall fitness, will keep your weight under control and will strengthen your cardiovascular system and can take the form of a brisk walk, cycling, jogging and dancing. Applying the correct seating posture can also help towards strengthening your joints and remove any excess strain to the painful areas. This can be a significant benefit in the fight against this illness.

If the symptoms persist and the treatments are not having the desired effect, there is also the possibility of surgery. Cartilage transplants and joint replacement surgery are but two of the procedures patients undergo to relieve themselves of the pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Jason Byrne has worked for a number of sites and has dealt with illness while working in the medical area. He is an avid adrenaline junkie and loves family time

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