Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Henrotin Y, et al. What is the current status of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis? Maturitas. 2014;78:184. Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be effectively managed, although the underlying process cannot be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function. Kalunian KC. Nonpharmacologic therapy of osteoarthritis. Accessed Feb. 1, 2016. The progression of OA depends on the severity of the disease at your diagnosis, the joints involved, and your general health. There aren’t any drugs yet that can stop the deterioration. However, following a therapy regimen early in the disease can help slow the rate of degeneration.
Your genes may be involved in the development of osteoarthritis, though researchers are still working to fully understand this connection. It may be that you have an abnormality in the makeup of your cartilage, or that your bones fit together abnormally at the joint. Joint injuries. Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that occurred many years ago and seemingly healed can increase your risk of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the cervical spine or lumbar spine causes pain in the neck or low back. Bony spurs, called osteophytes, that form along the arthritic spine can irritate spinal nerves, causing severe pain that can radiate from the spine as well as numbness and tingling of the affected parts of the body.
Diagnosis is made with reasonable certainty based on history and clinical examination. 40 41 X-rays may confirm the diagnosis. The typical changes seen on X-ray include: joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis (increased bone formation around the joint), subchondral cyst formation, and osteophytes 42 Plain films may not correlate with the findings on physical examination or with the degree of pain. 43 Usually other imaging techniques are not necessary to clinically diagnose osteoarthritis. Degenerative arthritis is a distressing disease, and there is no reason to go it alone. Reach out to friends and family if you need help, an exercise partner, or just someone to share your feelings with. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself, especially if your mobility is already impaired. Connecting with others may provide you the encouragement to press on with your weight loss or pursue interests that you might otherwise avoid.
Because hip arthritis is a degenerative condition, your symptoms will likely worsen as the cartilage breaks down even more. Some people can go many years using conservative treatments before surgery is indicated. Read on to learn about the treatment options you have for hip arthritis. Altman, Roy D. Osteoarthritis (OA). Merck. Updated February 2008. Accessed January 2011. Joint injuries or repetitive motion can lead to cartilage breakdown and OA. If the muscles supporting your joints are imbalanced or weak, this can also lead to cartilage breakdown.