Facts on Osteoarthritis Pain
Osteoarthritis is the most commonly diagnosed condition out of the 100 different forms of arthritis. It is also one of the most aggressive forms of chronic pain conditions. Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition that occurs when there is a malfunction in the ordinary process of the breakdown and regeneration of cartilage cells. Also known as degenerative joint arthritis or just degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is triggered by many events, such as developmental, metabolic, traumatic, or genetic factors. People with osteoarthritis eventually lose all the protective materials in the joint tissues, resulting in pain and failure of the joint.
Causes may include gender, age, trauma, overuse, obesity, and genetics. Despite what many people think about wear and tear causing osteoarthritis, research has shown that exercise actually improves the condition. It occurs when tissue within the cartilage produces inflammatory compounds and destructive enzymes that disrupt the balance between the normal breakdown of old cartilage and synthesizing new ones.
Who's Got It?
Osteoarthritis is more common in men than women. People who experience some sort of trauma are more likely to develop osteoarthritis ten to twenty years later. Obesity puts additional stress on joints, causing them to break down and become misaligned due to the extra weight. Certain hormones that are produced by fat cells, such as leptin, cytokines, and adiponectin, are shown to cause inflammation and narrow the space in between hip joints.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Pain or referred pain
- Joint deformity
- Joints that are warm to the touch
- Loss of flexibility
- Bone spurs
- Locking or looseness
- Radiological evidence such as bone thickening or the formation of cysts
Treatment options are limited to reducing the pain by taking over-the-counter medications. Anti-inflammatory diets, exercise, and maintaining a proper weight will contribute to reducing pain. Cold or heat therapy may also help.