When I wake up in the morning, I have a general soreness all over, when I move, I open up a little, I hear crunching noises coming from my joints, I have difficulty moving up and down stairs, my hands are weaker, and I have difficulty squeezing a towel with my hands. What is going on with me? Is it true that I'm getting older? Yes, a sedentary society is aging faster, and arthritis is becoming a problem for an increasing number of people.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes the structure of joint cartilage to deteriorate. As a result of changes in the cartilage and bone tissue under the cartilage, changes in the shape of the bone and protrusions at the edge of the joint develop. With the decrease in the fluid in the joint, the bones begin to rub against each other and damage occurs.
Calcification is a disease that affects especially the spine, hands, hip and knee joints. Over the age of 55-60, hands and knees are more frequently affected in women and hips in men.
Hand arthritis is characterized by swelling and bony protrusions at the end joints of the fingers, pain and stiffness in the hands in the morning.
In knee arthritis; knee pain, friction sound in the knees with movement, limitation in movements and deformities occur. There may be difficulty in squatting, climbing up and down stairs and sitting on and off a chair, and sometimes there may be swelling with fluid accumulation.
In hip arthritis, there is difficulty in movements, pain and limitation in walking and lifting the leg to a high place.
In spinal arthritis; neck, back and/or lower back pain, difficulty and stiffness in movements, and pain radiating to the leg are observed. Leg pain may be due to compression of the nerve passing through this area and descending to the leg, and narrowing of the canal. These complaints may sometimes be confused with neck and lumbar disc herniation symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES ARTHRITIS?
Many risk factors are important in the development of arthritis. The most common causes are
Being a woman
Lack of movement
Intense and improper exercise
Indiscriminate use of calcium and osteoporosis drugs
Sitting or heavy lifting
HOW IS ARTHRITIS DIAGNOSED?
Complaints, symptoms and examination findings, X-rays are the most useful tests in the diagnosis of arthritis. If there is swelling in the joint, some blood tests may be requested. MRI or CT may be required to see spinal canal changes due to arthritis.
WHAT SHOULD PATIENTS WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY IN DAILY LIFE DO? WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
The first physician to be consulted in musculoskeletal system diseases is a physical therapist. After the evaluation, the physician should determine the cause of your complaints, and if there is arthritis; the correct way of using that joint should be taught. People with knee arthritis should avoid positions that put a lot of strain on their knees, such as not sitting on a low chair or sitting with bent knees.
Treatment should be tailored to the needs and lifestyle in order to reduce pain and allow for freer movement.
Treatment for arthritis starts with making changes in your daily life to protect your joint. If you are overweight, losing weight will help the treatment as it will reduce the load on your joint.
Oral or topical medications and various physiotherapy methods are used to treat the pain. It is important to promote tissue healing and reduce the load on the joint by strengthening the muscles and connective tissues.
Since joint fluid is reduced in arthritis, joint lubricant fluid is used to reduce the damage and complaints caused by the friction of the bones.
Successful results are obtained with the PRP method, which is used to provide tissue regeneration especially in the knee joint. PRP and joint fluid are combined when necessary.
Oral MSM, chondroitin sulfate, collagen hydrozilate and glucosamine are the most well-known and used cartilage preservatives. There are many studies showing that they have a protective and restorative effect on cartilage, especially in knee, hip, hand and ankle joints that occur in the course of aging. However, they should be used under the supervision of a physician, especially glucosamine and chondroitin can interact with some blood thinners and cause bleeding, and those with added sodium can trigger blood pressure and heart problems.
With technological developments, arthritis is increasing at early ages due to inactivity. With the increase in the average life expectancy, studies on treatment methods to prevent arthritis before the joints deteriorate are progressing rapidly.
In advanced stages of arthritis, surgical methods are used if the narrowing of the joint space is very advanced and cartilage and bone destruction is high.
Osteoarthritis can reduce your quality of life due to pain and stiffness, but there are ways to cope with the disease.
Taking your medication as recommended by your doctor and doing appropriate exercises will increase the success of your treatment.
Ask your doctor for information about the most appropriate treatment option for you from medication, PTR, joint injections and surgical approaches.