What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder characterized by deep, aching joint pain. Osteoarthritis is usually first noticed in middle age and grows more prevalent with age.
Signs and Symptoms
Osteoarthritis symptoms include:
- Deep joint aches
- Swelling, stiffness and limited movement
In most cases osteoarthritis has no discernible cause. This is called primary osteoarthritis, defined by osteoarthritis symptoms not attributable to any injury or disease. Secondary arthritis develops because of another disease or condition, including injury, certain metabolic disorders and some inflammatory disorders.
The goals of treating osteoarthritis are to relieve pain and increase normal movement. A combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy and medications are often prescribed.
- Physical and occupational therapy: Physical and occupational therapy incorporates programs to loosen joints, reduce pain, increase movement, provide education and training in joint protection, activity modification, proper body mechanics and identify environmental barriers to health.
- Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that reduce pain and swelling, including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, are the most common medications.