Did you know that nearly 30 million Americans struggle with osteoarthritis? This degenerative joint disease that causes stiffness and swelling in the joints can be debilitating, keeping people from not only the hobbies and activities they enjoy doing, but also just everyday tasks like opening a jar, making the bed, or driving a car.
Osteoarthritis is sometimes called “wear and tear arthritis” since it generally starts to produce symptoms as individuals age. It can affect many different parts of the body, including:
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
There are several different factors that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, and the cause of this condition can be different depending on different lifestyles and heredity. These causes may be:
Injury and Overuse: Joints that have been injured or that have been used in the same way repeatedly over time are more prone to developing osteoarthritis. Those who have careers that require repetitive movements like bending, heavy lifting, or long periods of standing can experience the premature wearing of cartilage between the joints.
Weight: When an individual is overweight, their hip and knee joints experience excessive pressure which can lead to accelerated cartilage breakdown. Some studies have also shown that excess fat tissues can damage the joint because they produce cytokines, which are inflammatory chemicals.
Genetics: Some individuals simply have genetic traits that make them more prone to osteoarthritis because of a defect in collagen production.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are a variety of treatments and methods that can help minimize its symptoms:
Weight Loss: Getting rid of excess weight can minimize the pressure on hip and knee joints which can in turn reduce the pain and swelling experienced in these joints.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections: This natural substance acts as a lubricant in the joints and a shock absorber, which can help ease pain and improve range of motion in the joint.
Alternative Medicine: Many people find success treating osteoarthritis using a holistic approach that can include acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and also magnetic therapy with wearables like copper bracelets. A copper arthritis bracelet helps improve blood flow and regrow joint cartilage that has been lost, minimizing pain.