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Osteoarthritis FAQs

Do I have Osteoarthritis ?

You can be suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) if you have the following symptoms:

  • Joint Pain
  • Stiffness in joints (Especially after rest)
  • Swelling in joints
  • Creaking noise when moving your joint
  • Pain gets relieved with pain-killers but comes back after sometime

Your doctor can diagnose osteoarthritis and give appropriate treatment.

It is important to differentiate osteoarthritis from other types of arthritis.

 

>>What are the stages of Osteoarthritis ?

Although it's a progressive disease it is usually divided into 4 stages depending on x-ray findings :

 

Stage I There is softening of the cartilage on the surfaces of the knee. X-ray may be normal.
Stage II The cartilage starts to wear away and may show as a narrowed joint space in X-ray.
Stage III Some osteophytes are seen. (Stage 2 and 3 may be difficult to separate.)
Stage IV There is “bone-to-bone contact” with very narrow joint space. Lots of osteophytes, and distortion of the joint is seen.

 

These stages combined with patient's symptoms help in determining the correct course of treatment.

Osteoarthrotis Knee

>>I Have Osteoarthritis (OA) changes in X-ray. What should I do ?

Sometimes radiologists report an x-ray of the joint as having "OA changes seen". It should be remembered that a radiologist only sees your X-ray film and gives his report. He has not examined you.

The X-ray finding may not precisely relate to you symptoms.

Some people have advanced arthritis in x-ray but have minimal symptoms, whereas other people with minimal changes on x-ray may complain of severe pain. So it's best left to your doctor's clinical judgment.

 

>>Is osteoarthritis reversible ?

Osteoarthritis is NOT reversible. It is a part of aging process of the body.

Patients are advised to stay away from people who claim to reverse this condition and cure you.

 

With modern medical treatment the primary goal is to reduce your pain, slow down the degeneration process and modify lifestyle, to improve your overall wellbeing.

 

>>What is the treatment of Osteoarthritis ?

There are several options for treatment of osteoarthritis based on the amount of joint damage.

 

Early Stages - (Grade 1)

Osteoarthritis treatment depends on the grade of disease progression. In early stages the treatment comprises of a combination of :

  • Exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Weight loss
  • Medicines
  • Hot and cold compress
  • Application of pain reliving ointments / gels / oils

Intermediate Stages - (Grade 2, Grade 3)

With the progress of the disease your doctor may prescribe injection of medications into the joint. These can be either steroid injections or specialized gel formulations of Hyaluronic acid..

 

Late Stages - (Grade 4)

Surgery may be helpful to relieve pain when other treatment options have not been effective.

Both Hip replacement surgery and Knee replacement surgery have shown excellent long term results in treatment of severe arthritis.

 

The type of treatment will depend on several factors, including your age, occupation, activities , overall health, medical history, location of your osteoarthritis, and severity of the condition.

 

>>Osteoarthritis vs Osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis are not same !

These are two completely different diseases. People often confuse between them due to similar names.

 

Osteoarthritis = Degenerative joint disease

Osteoporosis = Bone weakness

 

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