Osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint disorders in the United States of America, accounting for a large part of disability and healthcare spending. Also known as the degenerative joint disease, it is known to largely affect the elderly and is the leading cause of disability in seniors above 65 years of age. Osteoarthritis can cause extreme chronic pain, leading to loss of function, stiffness, deformity, and other issues.
We know that osteoarthritis can sound extremely painful and scary, but you’ll be glad to know that there are ways to prevent and treat osteoarthritis.
Treatments for Osteoarthritis
There are three primary forms of treatment for osteoarthritis – namely exercise, physical therapy, and surgery. These are sometimes employed in combination with another but are largely prescribed in that order depending on severity. One more common option that can be considered is pharmacologic intervention where drug therapy is used to address both pain and the worsening condition.
On top of this, your doctor may also recommend weight management, orthotics, relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga, acupuncture and even hypnosis.
Methods of Prevention
Just because there is a form of established treatment does not mean that it has to get to that stage. Osteoarthritis can be prevented using the five tips below.
Firstly, avoid injuries as far as possible. If you suffer any form of joint injuries in your younger years, it can easily pave the foundation for osteoarthritis in your senior years. This can be avoided by common practices such as proper warm-up and cool-down, wearing proper attire, and exercising good form when performing fitness routines. In the event that you do suffer a joint injury, make sure to consult your doctor for proper treatment and take precautions to ensure full recovery without complications such as usage of a brace to stabilize the point of injury.
Secondly, ensuring that you have strong muscles can help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis as muscles are one of the main supports for your joints. This is especially so in regard to your thigh muscles. Studies have shown that individuals with weaker thigh muscles are at higher risk of contracting osteoarthritis in their knees.
Thirdly, managing your weight is essential to reducing osteoarthritis. The heavier you are, the more pressure is being placed on your joints especially those in your legs that bear majority of your weight. Regardless of whether or not you have osteoarthritis now, weight loss would be beneficial in both prevention and alleviation of osteoarthritis symptoms.
Next, eating healthy is also a reliable for of prevention. This goes back to the earlier point about weight as eating a balanced diet and ensuring a constant intake of essential nutrients can ensure that your body functions at its best.
Lastly, avoid straining your joints as far as possible. In particular, try to prevent situations where you have exerted stress on your leg joints for long periods of time. This can be done by switching from high impact activities to lower impact sports like swimming. If you are unsure, you can consult your physiotherapist for the best fitness option for you.
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition that can severely affect an individual’s quality of life and ability to carry out day-to-day activities. One of the best ways to increase convenience and ease in your life is to consider a placement at a senior living community where you can have round-the-clock care and access to exclusive senior living programs that are designed to maximize the quality of your life.