It is more common in women than in men. The disease affects the cartilage, the tissue at the ends of bones where bones meet to form a joint. Cartilage is normally smooth, allowing the bones of a joint to move against each other without resistance. But when this cartilage wears away, the bones rub against each other, bringing pain, swelling, and restricted motion. OA is also called degenerative joint disease.
While most patients with OA are 65 or over, research shows that OA is not necessarily a result of aging. Heredity, being overweight, lack of exercise, injuries to joints and joint misalignments are suspected to be the biggest OA risk factors.
OA can result in steady or intermittent joint pain; joint stiffness after sitting, sleeping, or otherwise not moving for awhile; joint swelling or tenderness; a grinding feeling, or the sound of bones rubbing against each other.
Exercise is one of the best forms of OA treatment and prevention. Strengthening the muscular support around the joints can improve and maintain joint mobility and function. Exercise also helps to control weight and improve the patient’s mood and outlook. The following exercises tips can help:
- Low-impact or non-weight-bearing activities, such as walking, stationary training, and light weight training.
- Use strengthening exercises if the key muscle groups related to joint function are weakened by the degeneration.
- If you are overweight, start exercising carefully, to not put too much stress on the knee and ankle joints.
- Stair climbing, water aerobics, Theraband workouts, and similar exercises help keep the joints mobile without straining them.
- Learn to hear what your body is telling you. Know when to stop, slow down, or rest.
By the nature of the work they do, the doctors at Binder Family Chiropractic can detect the earliest signs of OA. They see the results of degenerative changes in the spine, as well as in hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to relieve the pain of OA and improve joint function through chiropractic manipulation, trigger-point therapy, and some massage techniques.
Binder Family Chiropractic also provides exercise counseling, and will work to determine what exercises are best for you. We can also discuss drug-free options for pain relief.