Osteoarthritis, often called wear-and-tear arthritis, occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time. Wear-and-tear arthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and can damage any joint in your body, mostly affecting joints in the hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips, according to Mayo Clinic.
The disorder worsens with time and, although no cure exists, can be alleviated and even slowed with proper lifestyle changes and treatment. Do you or your loved one suffer from joint pain? If so, you may have osteoarthritis, as symptoms develop slowly and may be unnoticeable until discomfort and pain occur. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain. Your joint may hurt during or after movement.
- Tenderness. Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
- Stiffness. Joint stiffness may be most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- Loss of flexibility. You may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
- Grating sensation. You may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint.
- Bone spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.
If you develop joint pain or stiffness, make an appointment with your doctor. Sometimes, it’s difficult to cope with the truth that, with age, our bodies tend to need a little extra care. We can’t help but wonder, “Why am I affected by this disease?” or think, “Am I really old enough to develop this disorder?” Understanding, treating and living with bodily changes is necessary in order to maintain a healthy, happy life. 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.
After understanding the causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis, it’s important to learn how you or your parent can live comfortably with this degenerative disease. Unfortunately, joint pain and stiffness may become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult to accomplish. If you see your elderly loved one struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle and complete their daily routine, consider connecting with Synergy HomeCare Corona/Riverside, as our caregivers can help your parent maintain a comfortable, independent lifestyle. Sometimes, lifestyle changes are difficult to accept and manage. Our caregivers can encourage and aid your parent in lifestyle changes that can help reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. Lifestyle changes and home treatments that our caregivers can assist your parent with include:
- Rest. If you're experiencing pain or inflammation in your joint, rest it for 12 to 24 hours. Find activities that don't require you to use your joint repetitively.
- Exercise. Exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Stick to gentle exercises, such as walking, biking or swimming. If you feel new joint pain, stop. New pain that lasts for hours after you exercise probably means you've overdone it.
- Lose weight. Being overweight or obese increases the stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees and your hips. Even a small amount of weight loss can relieve some pressure and reduce your pain. Talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight. Most people combine changes in their diet with increased exercise.
- Use heat and cold to manage pain. Both heat and cold can relieve pain in your joint. Heat also relieves stiffness, and cold can relieve muscle spasms and pain.
- Apply over-the-counter pain creams. Creams and gels available at drugstores may provide temporary relief from osteoarthritis pain. Some creams numb the pain by creating a hot or cool sensation. Other creams contain medications, such as aspirin-like compounds, that are absorbed into your skin. Pain creams work best on joints that are close to the surface of your skin, such as your knees and fingers.
- Use assistive devices. Assistive devices can make it easier to go about your day without stressing your painful joint. A cane may take weight off your knee or hip as you walk. Carry the cane in the hand opposite the leg that hurts. Gripping and grabbing tools may make it easier to work in the kitchen if you have osteoarthritis in your fingers. Your doctor or occupational therapist may have ideas about what sorts of assistive devices may be helpful to you. Catalogs and medical supply stores also may be places to look for ideas.
Synergy HomeCare caregivers can also assist with the scheduling and transportation of doctor and rehabilitation appointments, can encourage light exercise and can even monitor your loved one’s adherence to medical orders and instructions, including reminders to take medications.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at /agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected] .