Joyful Joints – Put Out the Pain of Osteoarthritis! You may experience it during summer because of rain and humidity, or in wintertime due to the cold. Others may notice it when they exercise too hard or sit too long. The pain of osteoarthritis may interrupt your joy of watching seasonal colors change or getting a good workout. Osteoarthritis isn’t always visible like the swollen joints of rheumatoid arthritis, but you can sure feel the aches. And it can be challenging for those 21 million Americans living with it on a daily basis. Although it is known for affecting people 45 and older, incidents at younger ages are increasing due to over-exercise in children and teens playing multiple strenuously competitive sports.
How is osteoarthritis different from rheumatoid arthritis?
Although people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis both claim to experience seasonal, exercise or sedentary pain, the two are different.
Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the immune system (an autoimmune disease where the body is working against itself), osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition most often occurring on the weight-bearing joints by the wearing away of cartilage and general weakening of joint tissue. Osteoarthritis is sometimes called “degenerative joint disease”. There are many types of arthritis; some people have both osteo- and rheumatoid variations.
In osteoarthritis, blood vessels grow into tissues where they shouldn’t be and unwanted enzyme activity takes place. Over time, cartilage becomes calcified and subsequently brittle with less resilience. As the cartilage or other connective tissues between our joints deteriorates, we lose our “cushioning” and eventually bone surfaces which are normally separated come in contact with each other. Bone spurs and cysts might form, and in advanced cases bits of bone may even be floating in the joint space.
The rubbing of bone surfaces creates joint pain and soreness in surrounding areas. Stiffness and decreased range of motion might occur because we may have to “baby” the joint to keep it from getting worse, or we stop exercising to avoid the pain.
Medical opinions sometimes conflict about “whether” we can blame the “weather”, but consensus is that, although weather can’t make the condition worse, it can cause symptoms to intensify. Another reason for osteoarthritis could be congenital malformations affecting our skeletal structure so the bones don’t grow correctly.
Either way – Your S.O.S. has been answered!
Natural Help through Diet
With long-term usage, anti-inflammatory drug treatment including both steroids and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) can disturb our cardiovascular health and digestive system, even causing gastrointestinal bleeding or poor liver function. And although they help with the symptom of pain, the chemicals may actually cause further degeneration of connective tissue. Indeed, we’ve recently seen prescription drugs for arthritis pain removed from the market, and over-the-counter (OTC) remedies aren’t enjoying popularity in recent FDA reports either.