Thursday, 17 August 2023 16:35

Osteoarthritis Can Be Debilitating: What Does the Path Forward Look Like?

Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis pexels

An unfortunate part about getting older is discovering the many ways your body can fail you. Joint and bone pain among the elderly has been an issue for centuries. Yet, despite modern advances in medicine, we still haven’t found a complete remedy for the degeneration of our joints.

 

Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other degenerative joint diseases are very common among the elderly. According to the World Health Organization, 73% of people with osteoarthritis are over 55 years.

That’s not to say it can’t occur earlier. It does, just not as much.

If you are experiencing pain in your joints and hip, the earlier you seek treatment, the better. Rehabilitative options for osteoarthritis will vary from person to person, but for the most part, treatment focuses on addressing symptoms. In this article, let us explore what the path ahead may look like.

Be Ready to Make Drastic Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes will be crucial for managing osteoarthritis and other joint issues effectively. The main objectives involve maintaining a healthy weight, a balanced diet, avoiding high-impact activities, and pain management strategies.

These initial steps are likely to feel unfamiliar and even uncomfortable. Adjusting to new habits and routines will naturally require a good deal of patience. There will be days when doubt creeps in, and you are unsure if the effort is even worth it.

Before such doubts even arise, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the kind of results you can expect. A realistic approach can help you cope better if progress isn’t as fast as you hoped.

At the same time, keep an eye out for new advancements in the field. Scientists from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are testing an injectable cell therapy that could help regenerate eroded cartilage. Such developments are promising and show that degenerative joint issues can have new remedies in the future.

After understanding the risks involved, you can often opt in for early testing on the advice of your doctor.

Hip Replacements Work But Can Be Risky

If you are looking for a more immediate intervention, hip replacements are also a solid option with enough medical backing. Hip replacements are offered when individuals experience severe hip pain, reduced mobility, and impaired quality of life.

Depending on how severe your condition is, you can opt for a total hip replacement or a partial one. In a total hip replacement, the femoral head and the acetabulum are replaced with prosthetic components like titanium or ceramic.

However, before going this route, you should research the available options extensively. The recent news about the Exactech hip replacement recall is a bit concerning for those thinking about a hip replacement.

Apparently, the company shipped several of its products with faulty packaging, which can potentially result in oxidation issues.

Predictably, this has opened Exactech to several lawsuits, and TorHoerman Law states that bellwether trials are currently being planned.

The main caveat with hip replacement is the strain that the surgery can put on older people. The risk of death is about 1 in 100 within 90 days of surgery. This risk can also be higher for people over 70 and those with heart issues.

While this statistic seems concerning, you should remember that virtually every surgery has a degree of risk.

Take Preventive Action When You Have The Chance

Hopefully, you are starting to realize the importance of preventative steps. This section is mainly for people in their teens or early twenties. Pay attention. You do not want to be in your mid-seventies before trying to address factors that lead to osteoarthritis. 

You want to start taking immediate steps to maintain a healthy weight. This is because the heavier your body is, the greater the strain on your joints.

If you aren’t already going to the gym, join one and start lifting weights. Strong muscles will make a big difference in terms of providing you with additional joint support. Exercises like squats, lunges, clamshells, and deadlifts are all solid options that will strengthen your core and lower body.

Similarly, start paying extra attention to your posture and stay active throughout the day. You don’t want to limit physical activity to only three times a week for one intense hour.

Conclusion

You might hear that conditions like osteoarthritis are currently incurable. You will also be told that the treatment methods are mainly to address the symptoms, not the condition.

Osteoarthritis is one of those conditions where the symptoms play a bigger role than its implications. With proper symptom control, you can significantly reduce the level of pain that you experience.

Remember, physical therapy and rehabilitation programs are constantly improving, and the journey isn’t as scary as it may initially appear. So, take heart and meet your treatment plans with courage.

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