Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that breaks down the cartilage – the natural cushion inside your joints. The result is painful inflammation. It is the most common type of arthritis. About 30 million Americans suffer with that condition.
Everyone experiences joint wear and tear, but not everyone develops the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. If you follow a few basic tips, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians and you can increase your odds of keeping your joints pain free.
Catch the condition when pain first begins and you might be able to halt the progression of the disease. The right treatment plan can boost your body’s natural self-repair process.
This is how it works: When you take a step, your moving body puts pressure on your joints, especially knees and hips. Most of the impact, which is equal to about three or four times your body weight, is absorbed by the cartilage. Movement first compresses and then releases, squeezing water and nutrient-rich fluids in and out of the cartilage. This fluid exchange, which keeps joints lubricated and resilient, also promotes self-repair.
Enjoy the benefits that help lessen pain. Exercise also improves joint health by helping you loose excess weight and strengthen muscles.
But if you experiencing pain, exercises may be the last thing you feel like doing. A physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist (physiatrist) can help. Physiatrists, provide a full spectrum of non-surgical care to restore maximum health and quality of life. To help you overcome the difficulties, such physicians:
- Are uniquely qualified to prescribe therapeutic exercises, ergonomics, the latest research-based treatments.
- Help patients modify their activities to minimize pain and maximize their ability to do things they want and need.
- Work with a team of health professionals to provide an individualized treatment plan and necessary tools that enable patients to take control of their health.
PM & R doctors can provide a multi-faceted treatment approach that might include:
- Weight management: Excess weight can accelerate joint deterioration. Physicians can help you identify safe and effective ways to achieve your best weight.
- Physical therapy: Prescribed exercises focus on strengthening, stretching and range-of-motion exercises to help your joints work more easily and efficiently.
Four keys to defeating osteoarthritis pain:
- Stay fit: Sometimes just loosing weight alone brings about relief.
- Stay active: Physically fit people suffer much less pain than people who are not active.
- Stay strong: Strong muscles help take the weight load off your joints, limiting cartilage damage. A strong core – abdominal and back muscles – keeps your body stable and balanced.
- Stay informed: See a physiatry specialist to learn about the latest advances in non-surgical treatment options and medically supervised exercise programs.