The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the slow degeneration of protective cartilage at the end of bones due to stress or under impact, leading to increased disability and restricted movement. Though osteoarthritis can be genetic, several lifestyle factors, like smoking and obesity, pose an added risk. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint, particularly in knees, neck, hands, lower back and hips.
Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms develop slowly, worsening gradually over time. Osteoarthritis occurs with the gradual deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the bones in joints. A kind of firm, slippery tissue, cartilage helps in frictionless joint motion. When a person is suffering from osteoarthritis, the cartilage surface becomes rough, with the eventual wear down of the cartilage. When this happens, the victim may be left with one bone rubbing on another.
Some of the common symptoms include:
- Pain during or after movement
- Tenderness in joints when you apply light pressure
- Early morning stiffness in joints
- Loss of flexibility
- Difficulty moving the joint through its complete range of motion
- Formation of bone spurs around the affected joint
- Grating sensation during motion
Osteoarthritis treatment can help in slowing down the progression of the disease. You may experience improved joint function and relief from pain. However, physical exercise is also necessary for people facing joint problems. Glucosamine and chondroitin help repair damaged joints in osteoarthritis patients. Glucosamine helps in the formation of the protein that supports cartilage in the body, while chondroitin is itself part of the cartilage and helps in absorbing shock.