Ever get that pain first thing in the morning? You know, that achy stiffness in your joints. It comes back later after you’ve sat for a while. You hear creaking, cracking or crunching when you move. We have all been there, some of us more often than others. I’m sure your Physician told you that you have Arthritis, maybe even took x rays to confirm it. So thats it right? You are just getting older, you have arthritis and this pain is just going to be there until you can’t take it anymore and get a joint replacement. WRONG!
So is osteoarthritis different than regular arthritis?
Arthritis means inflammation of the joint.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, the “osteo” part of this words refers to the bones of the joints having irritation as well. Weight bearing joints are the most susceptible to damage with the spine, knees and hips being the most common.
Ever hear the phrase that your arthritis is “bone on bone”. So in order to make a joint in the body, you knee two bones to meet. There is also a rubbery substance that covers bones called cartilage. It’s job is to reduce friction when the bones come close to each other during movement. There is also an oily fluid in the joint called synovial fluid which add lubrication to ease movements. When these protective additions start to wear down there is more friction than “normal” between the bones and this is what causes pain. So to stop the pain, you should stop the movements that cause pain right? WRONG!
Movement is the single best treatment for Osteoarthritis! Remember that pain you get in the morning? Doesn’t it go away after about 30 minutes of waking up and moving around? Then you sit down and read the paper in the morning, then getting up again is painful and you hear a crack right? But you start moving and walking around and the pain starts to ease. Moving is what our bodies were made for! Doctors of Physical Therapy are experts at examining joints and movement patterns of the body. A Physical Therapist will correct faulty movement patterns, which are the cause extra friction and pain. Often simple adjustments in your daily routine will greatly reduce pain.