Osteoarthritis is a very common form of arthritis distinguished by gradual loss of cartilage of the joints, usually affecting people after middle age. Knowing how to recognize osteoarthritis symptoms can help you catch the condition in its early stages when weight loss and exercise are most helpful.
As we age we often gain weight, the two major risk factors. Let’s face it, we baby boomers are getting older and generally are overweight. Osteoarthritis is known to be a leading factor in disability among the elderly.
Osteoarthritis indications usually show up in the joints of the neck and back, the hips, knees and fingers. Due to damage that has occurred or the passing of time, bony tissue thickens around the joint rims. Also, the cartilage or soft tissue between bones of a joint wears out. Hence, the need for hip or knee replacement.
Osteoarthritis symptoms to watch for include:
1. Pain tends to gradually get worse as the day progresses, rather than the joints relaxing with activity. For example, the hips hurt when going upstairs, the knees become painful when walking; the fingers ache after cooking, sewing or other hand work.
2. Stiffness and difficulty moving the joints are more noticeable first thing in the morning, especially after do exercises the day before.
3. Swelling and grating. Osteoarthritis’ bony ridges may prompt the joints to increase in size, especially in the hands where enlarged finger joints can make them look bony and crooked. The grating noise doctors call “crepitus” can be heard when the joint is moved.
I am over sixty and a prime candidate for osteoarthritis. My weight is not where it should be; my hands, feet and joints hurt and exercising is at a minimum. I knit voraciously, work crosswords with a passion, and do computer work daily. All of this adds up to the possibility of osteoarthritis setting in.
There is home-remedy pain relief to ease what hurts. First of all, we need to become creative problem solvers. Changing positions and doing some light stretching can help. Shop at a store that furnishes driving carts. They may seem intimidating, but they are not. If you’d rather be on your feet, lean on the shopping cart and put one foot on the lower bar for a short time. This takes the stress off your back.
Choose the right time of day to shop. Talk to the store manager so you’ll know the quietist time. Never be afraid to ask for assistance with heavier items or items too high for you. There is always a manly gentleman around who will gladly help you.
Be sure to take five. Change your daily routine by taking breaks and moving around to lubricate those joints. Wiggle the toes, swing the arms, do a few gentle calisthenics.
On long trips, get out at the rest area and take a walk. If you are confined, use seated exercises:
Stretch out your legs instead of sitting with them bent under you.
Lift and straighten your legs one at a time with your thigh muscles.
With your feet flat on the floor, lift the toes, hold for ten seconds and put them down again.
At the office stand up and exercise your hips by pulling each knee up to your chest and rolling it around a little to relieve osteoarthritis hip pain.
To stretch your neck to provide osteoarthritis neck pain relief, pull your chin down as if making a double chin. With your chin down look over your right shoulder, then your left. With your chin still tucked in lean your head over as though to touch your ear to your shoulder. Slowly bring your head back up and ease around to the other shoulder.
Practice hand stretches or use a soft ball to strengthen your grip.