According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R), degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis are one and the same. It’s also sometimes called “wear-and-tear” arthritis, and it’s the most common form of the disease.
At Osteopathic Center for Healing, we think osteoarthritis may be avoidable, or at least slowed down. Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA-C offer several treatments to help ease the pain and stiffness associated with joint degeneration. In this post, we explore some of the common causes and how you may be able to keep your joints healthy for longer.
As you may have guessed from the name wear-and-tear arthritis, degenerative joint disease happens after years of repetitive motion, whether that’s walking, sitting, and bending at your hips, or climbing stairs and putting pressure on your knees.
In a healthy joint, the bones are cushioned by cartilage, which allows for smooth, painless movement. In a joint with osteoarthritis, the cartilage is worn, and the bones rub against each other. With osteoarthritis, you’re likely to experience stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion, and you may sometimes feel like your joint is “locked” in a position.
There’s no cure for any form of arthritis, including osteoarthritis. But there are treatments that can ease your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. There are also lifestyle factors that you can implement to avoid the disease or to slow it down.
Clinicians have identified several factors that increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis, some you can control and some you cannot. For example, if you’re overweight or obese, you can lose some weight and reduce the load on your joints. However, you can’t stop aging, and older age is the main risk factor for developing osteoarthritis.
Other risk factors include:
Although you can’t control many of the risk factors for degenerative joint disease, there are things you can do to mitigate it. For example, regular exercise that includes both strength training and flexibility training can keep the structures around your joints strong so they provide support, and flexible so you keep your range of motion.
If you play a particular sport or have a hobby that involves repetitive motions, make sure you change things up. Cross train so that your joints get a break from your main activity, or take regular breaks from your hobby to rest your joints.
If you’re overweight try to lose some of the extra pounds. We can help you develop a nutrition plan suitable for you, and help you identify ways to exercise you might enjoy.
We offer several services, such as acupuncture, regenerative medicine, and others, that may help ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis and slow the progression of the disease. The best treatment approach for you depends on many factors, so we always tailor a plan to suit your specific needs.
If you’re experiencing joint stiffness, inflammation, or pain, schedule an appointment with us at Osteopathic Center for Healing in Rockville, Maryland.