Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. While osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints deteriorates over time. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that permits nearly frictionless joint motion. In osteoarthritis, the slick surface of the cartilage becomes rough. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, you may be left with bone rubbing on bone.
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time.
Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain and stiffness of the affected joint
- Swelling and warmth of the joint
- Creaking of the joint
- Pain is usually worse after repetitive use of the joint
- Stiffness is usually worse after a long period of inactivity
- Pain may occur at rest too (in severe cases)
- Limited mobility of joints
- Inability to squat
- Bony enlargement of small joints of fingers
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Tingling numbness of extremities
Factors that increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:
- Older age. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age.
- Sex. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn't clear why.
- Bone deformities. Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Joint injuries. Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Obesity.Carrying more body weight puts added stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees.
- Certain occupations.If your job includes tasks that place repetitive stress on a particular joint, that joint may eventually develop osteoarthritis
- Other diseases. Having diabetes, underactive thyroid, gout or Paget's disease of bone can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the pathological changes in the joint are almost irreversible. Homeopathic medicine can alleviate the pain significantly but cannot cure the disease completely. Most cases respond well as far as the long-term pain relief is concerned. Homeopathic medicines are definitely suggested for osteoarthritis, especially for early cases where the medicines can slow down the degenerative process and offer considerable pain relief.
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