Many people suffer from osteoarthritis, but it is not always well understood. Let’s look at some of the most prevalent myths surrounding the disease.
A widespread health condition
The most recent estimates on osteoarthritis (OA) show that about 27 million people in the United States suffer from it. The aging process is a significant risk factor, as indicated by the proportion within certain age brackets:
· 25+ year old – 14%
· 65+ years old – 34%.
The primary symptom of OA is chronic pain, according to an assessment by Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. Pain is generally the main reason that patients visit a medical professional for treatment. However, increasing loss of function is also a major issue (it is also called degenerative joint disease, after all). Osteoarthritis in the knees and hips is the top reason that American seniors start to have difficulty moving around.
Major osteoarthritis myths
Here are a few myths surrounding this painful joint condition.
Untrue: Osteoarthritis is simply part of the aging process.
People are likelier to develop OA as they get older, but aging isn’t the only contributing factor. Obesity, genetics, injury, and lack of physical fitness also can result in OA, sometimes earlier in adulthood.
“For example, in younger people who have had a sports-related or vehicle accident,” notes Drugs.com, “cartilage can wear away and cause joint disorders.”
Untrue: Joint stiffness is constant.
While joint stiffness is one of the top symptoms experienced by those with OA, it typically does not last throughout the day. Generally sufferers feel stiff when they first get out of bed. The rigidity should recede within a half-hour at most. The joint tends to improve as the patient moves around.
Untrue: Osteoarthritis sufferers shouldn’t work out.
It’s important for those with osteoarthritis to get daily exercise. Exercise enhances circulation, which means that the muscles and joints get replenished with oxygen. Swimming and strengthening exercises are two possibilities.
Plus, “[w]eight loss should be a goal to lessen joint stress for overweight patients,” explains Drugs.com. “Exercise programs should only be started after physician consultation and possible supervision by a physical therapist.”
Getting help for your OA
Are you experiencing the pain of osteoarthritis? At Envista Medical, we work with you to develop a holistic plan that uses non-surgical, minimally invasive methods for pain treatment.