Top 7 Tips For Preventing or managing the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
How do we get osteoarthritis?
The most common way to get OA is from trauma. Traumatic causes can be further divided into macrotrauma or microtrauma. An example of macrotrauma is an injury to the joint such as a bone break causing the bones to line up improperly (misalignment), lose stability, or damage cartilage. Microtrauma may occur over time (chronically). An example of this would be repetitive movements like carpal tunnel.
Another common actor to developing OA is being overweight. Studies have shown time and time again that overweight people tend to have a higher affinity for developing OA. This happens because of the excess force that the joints are required to hold.
Other factors are:
Endocrine is another predisposing factor. People with diabetes may be more prone to osteoarthritis. Other less common endocrine problems also may promote development, including acromegaly, hypothyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, and obesity.
Inflammatory joint diseases like infected joints, chronic gouty arthritis, and rheumatoid disease can also predispose a person to osteoarthritis.
Congenital, developmental, genetic can also cause a predisposition to osteoarthritis like abnormal anatomy such as unequal length length or genetic defect may promote breakout of the protective architecture of cartilage.
What happens in OA?
As you age, have a major trauma, repetitive micro trauma (wear and tear), genetic predisposition, and metabolic disease can lead to a break down in cartilage.
In each joint you have synovial fluid, cartilage then bone (this is a simplification). So if you have repetitive trauma it wears on the synovial fluid and after time the synovial fluid begins to lose viscosity. When the synovial fluid loses viscosity then additional stress is put on the cartilage. The cartilage begins breaking down and extremely leads to cartilage calcification and potentially bone on bone grinding.
So what can I do about it?
Chondroitin sulfate consists of repeating chains of molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). This provides the structure in the synovial fluid by holding both water and nutrients in the synovial fluid. This is extremely important since cartilage areas have little or no blood supply.
Studies have been performed on supplementing with oral chondroitin sulfate and have consistently reduced pain, increased joint mobility, and healing within joints (shown on x-ray).
1) Omega 3 oils are a huge topic and broadly debated. In my office I recommend fish oil over flax oil because fish oil contains both DHA and EPA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) both have anti-inflammatory effects extremely leading to a reduction in pain. Flax oil contains ALA which can extremely can be converted into ALA but the body has to go through many chemical processes to manufacture EPA and DHA. In order for this process to work a patient must have a functioning thyroid.
What to look for when you buy a fish oil. A high grade fish oil will be pharmaceutical grade or molecularly distilled which removes chemicals, PCBs, and mercury.
To help prevent joint damage, is it important to exercise?
2) Exercise is important because diabetes and obesity are rising quickly in this country and are risk factors for OA. It is important to do some form of exercise increasing mileage 10 percent each week. This increases muscle strength which ultimately increases bone strength. Studies have shown the more muscle mass you obtain has a direct correlation with a decrease in insulin levels. This decrease the risk of diabetes. It is important to perform exercise with the correct biomechanics and have all of the bones moving how they were designed to move.
3) Get Chiropractic care to increase the mobility of your joints and stop the process of degeneration. It is important that all of the bones and joints in your body are moving. Chiropractic is very effective in decreasing the side effects of an already present disease process of arthritis and also preventing osteoarthritis all together.
Am I at Risk?
Are you over 45 years old?
Have you had injury to 1 or more joints?
Are you stressed?
Does Osteoarthritis run in your family?
Do you experience muscle weakness
Do you exercise regularly?
Do you stretch?
Are you overweight or obesity?
Do you have pain during or after movement?
Do you feel tenderness when you apply light pressure to an area?
Do you get joint stiffness when you wake up in the morning or after a period ofactivity?
Do you have a loss of flexibility? Do you notice you can not put a joint through its full range of motion?
Do you hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint?