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How to Deal with Osteoarthritis

Learn what osteoarthritis is and how to treat it from physical therapist Eric Sampson in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Osteoarthritis is a very common disorder in the body, not just in the spine but also your weight bearing joints like your knees, and then your hips commonly as well.

Osteoarthritis is basically inflammation of the joint, and depending on what joint you're talking about, so -itis at the end of any word is going to mean inflammation of, and then the, sort of the word before it is what you're talking about, tendonitis, bursitis, et cetera.

Osteoarthritis is going to be an inflammatory problem, it's a wear and tear problem. In order to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you have to have soft tissue breakdown first, and what I mean is all your joints are lined, like a coat, with tissue, it's like a soft tissue, shock absorbers if you will, so the bones aren't coming into contact. But due to wear and tear, aging, a combination, those soft structures begin to thin out, wear out, and now you're getting more bone on bone, and eventually that rubbing and that friction can lead to discomfort.

It's one of these problems that's very common in our spines, lower spines especially, and one of the hallmarks of these conditions is a fairly localized pain pattern. Rarely do you have symptoms traveling into the leg or traveling down into the lower leg, it's usually localized to the back, or if it's the knee, for instance, in the knee, and it is very treatable.

The treatment method is usually trying to have a good balance of exercising and stretching in your life, and to never do the same exercises one day after another after another, for instance, running over and over, biking over and over, you want to mix it up, everyday maybe do something a little different. If it's really a bad case, and you're having a lot of difficulty, you know, seeing a specialist is indicated, because they can provide the proper balance for you, to know what's too much and what's too little, and how to make it work for you. But you do need some level of exercise and some level of stretching to offset the problem, and depending on how bad it is, it's very manageable.

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