Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, is the most commonly known type of arthritis. Osteoarthrits is the result of cartilage breaking down within a joint of the body. This occurs over time and can also happen with trauma and surgeries. The most commonly experienced symptoms with osteoarthritis are pain in the joint with movement, tenderness to palpation, crepitus (grinding sounds within the joint), and stiffness following periods of inactivity. People will most commonly experience osteoarthritis in their knees, spine, wrist, hips, and/or shoulders.
Risk factors to developing osteoarthritis include previous injury to the area, obesity, joint misalignment, heredity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Properly coming to a diagnosis of osteoarthritis involves several steps.
First is taking a thorough health history, in which the information provided by the patient guides the thinking of your clinician and helps in creating a mental list of possible issues. Next is to perform a physical examination, which further assists in the discovery and clinical decision-making process. After the physical examination, X-rays are taken of the area in question to aid in diagnosing the condition and further quantifying the degree of structural damage present. There are some instances in which advanced imaging, such as MRI, may be needed to assist in determining the most appropriate course of action.
Treatment of osteoarthritis can be extremely beneficial and can involve many different modalities. These modalities can include:
One of the most exciting areas in medicine today is the topic of viscosupplementation. At Senior Physical Medicine, we utilize Hyaluronic Acid injections to aid in the reduction of inflammation and pain, and to help regenerate your joint. These injections are beneficial in the relief of symptoms, and are covered by most insurances
Have you ever heard the old saying, ‘Motion is lotion’, well at Seinor Physical Medicine we find this to be very true. As long as we are smart about what we are doing, movement can help to improve mobility, decrease inflammation, and even stimulate the regrowth of cartilage.
When muscles are tight, they become imbalanced. This then places unnatural stress and pressure on your joints. The rehabilitation professionals at Senior Physical Medicine will help you to identify your muscular imbalances, and show you the most effective way to stretch those tightened muscles. This will help for the joint to be properly aligned, and can help reduce pain and discomfort.
Performing rehabilitative exercises is incredibly important in creating a well-supported joint. Structures like ligaments help to hold a joint together and give it some support. However, a much larger amount of support comes from the strength, coordination, and balance of the surrounding musculature. Amazing amounts of pain relief and functional improvement can occur with an arthritic joint when proper stabilization is returned.
Misalignment of joints can occur for a variety of reasons. A few of these causes are from muscle imbalances, postural changes, and subluxations (partial dislocations). We often find a combination of these occurring on our patients with osteoarthritis. When these functional issues are addressed, mobility and symptoms generally improve dramatically.
Durable Medical Equipment
Using the right equipment, when not in therapy, can help to significantly accelerate the healing process. We will provide you with the equipment you can use at home to reduce pain and inflammation, and to support and correct your condition. A form fitting knee orthotic is by far one of the best ways to continue progress outside of the office.
There are many options today in the conservative treatment of osteoarthritis. It is true that many factors including structural damage, muscle imbalance, joint misalignment, obesity, and poor conditioning are involved. However, with the technology and treatments available today, there is more hope than ever that you will get back to the things you love.