Osteoarthritis: The Most Common of All Arthritis
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is estimated to affect 17 million people in the United States. Often confused with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis usually affects people over the age of 40. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, which strikes the smaller joints, osteoarthritis involves the larger weight-bearing joints. People with osteoarthritis usually have pain in the lower back, hips and knees. This pain is worse toward the latter part of the day and after activity.
Osteoarthritis is believed to be caused by genetic factors coupled with years of wear and tear to the joint. The result is a defect in the joint cartilage producing the disease. Once the diagnosis is established, a proper treatment program can be initiated. Often a multi-disciplinary approach is required. Such an approach may include anti-inflammatory medications, regular special exercises, a balanced diet, physical therapy, and instruction in joint protection.
medications such as acetaminophen can be useful in the treatment of the
minor pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
medications are often used to reduced both the pain and inflammation associated
with osteoarthritis. One problem with these medications have been the
gastrointestinal (stomach) side-effects and many patients found that they
were not able to tolerate these drugs.
These various modalities
are usually able to control the pain and disability associated with osteoarthritis.
© 2015, The Arthritis Institute of Long Island, NY