Osteoarthritis is generally a condition that affects the joints making them stiff and painful. Osteoarthritis is sometimes called wear and tear arthritis. It commonly affects the joints of the body that carry weight for example the feet, spine, the hip and knees but can also affect the base of the thumb, finger, elbow and shoulder.
Joint pain is one of the common symptoms of osteoarthritis. Other symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
1. A grinding and a crunching sensation and noise in your joint. This sensation is called crepitus.
2. Change in shape of your joints. This can cause a hard bony growth and a soft swelling which is caused by extra fluid.
3. Reduced range of movement of the joints. This makes it difficult to move your joints to the position they were able to move before.
4. A deep and an aching joint pain. You will experience pain in the joints that are affected. In some cases the pain may spread depending on the joints that are affected. For example if the hip is affected the pain may spread down or to the front of the thigh and also to your buttocks. This is called radiated pain.
5. Fracture in the joints. This commonly happens when the muscles weaken and when the joints become less stable. Abnormal discomfort or pain can be experienced by people who have osteoarthritis and are under medication.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body and the commonly affected joints include:
2. Lower back
Other signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
1. Loss of muscle bulk
2. The affected joint become larger than usual
3. The affected joint become tender
4. The affected joint become warm
The form of medication used in treating osteoarthritis can also cause side effects such as abdominal pain.
One of the drugs that can cause abdominal pain is non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as COX-2 inhibitors. This special form of NSAIDs is usually prescribed if you experience moderate to severe knee pain. Examples of COX-2 inhibitors include Celebrex and vioxx. COX-2 inhibitors are purposely used to reduce pain and inflammation. You should avoid taking other forms of traditional NSAIDs which are usually prescribed over the counter. COX-2 inhibitors have side effects. One of its side effects is abdominal pain which can cause abdominal bleeding. Other side effects of COX-2 inhibitors include nausea and indigestion.
Other types of anti-inflammatory drugs that can be used in treatment of NSAIDs include aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These forms of anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce joint swelling.
Pain relievers such as Tylenol can be used in reducing pain.
Glucosamine and chondroitin is also used to treat osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are oral supplements and usually used to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally found in the cartilage of your joints but the supplements which are sold are made from synthetic and animal products. Glucosamine and chondroitin are helpful in the early stages of osteoarthritis if they are used correctly. These supplements are natural substances but they too have side effects. Some of the side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, stomach upset and skin reaction.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can interact with other forms of medication therefore it is advisable to discuss with your doctor if you use these supplements.
Corticosteroid is another form of drugs that can be used to treat osteoarthritis. Corticosteroids are a powerful anti inflammatory agent that can be injected into the affected joints. Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat moderate to severe pain. They are helpful when you have a swelling. There is some concern about corticosteroids injections. You may experience swelling and pain flare immediately after injection.
Hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation is another form of medication for osteoarthritis. This involves injection of hyaluronic acid into the joints so as to improve the quality of the joint fluid.
Other forms of injections include the gold salt injection. Therapies that can used to treat osteoarthritis include use of magnetic pulse therapy and acupuncture.
Acupuncture uses fine needles which stimulate specific body areas so as to relieve pain and also to numb the area temporarily. Magnetic Pulse therapy involves applying a pulsed signal to the knee which is placed in an electromagnetic field.
Other therapies include surgical treatment such as arthroscopy surgery, osteotomy, arthroplasty and cartilage grafting.