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July 10, 2017

Joint Effort: Joint and Bone Care

Joint Effort: Joint and Bone Care

Courtesy of Shuttersotcl

Live to 100 provides you with an overview of the most common musculoskeletal conditions, how to treat them and what preventatives can help your joint and bone care

Unwanted pain can impede the joys of everyday life. Whether you suffer from joint, bone or muscle issues, it can often be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes aching, inflammation and pain in the joints. It often appears in adults over 40 and can sometimes be hereditary. There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common; it refers to the breaking down of cartilage in the joint which can cause a considerable amount of pain and stiffness, making it difficult to move. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and soreness in the joints.

Tackling the problem

There are no instant cures for arthritis but there are treatments available to ease the pain and relieve symptoms. In most cases medication for the pain is necessary in the form of painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids. In more extreme cases your doctor may decide that a surgical procedure is the best way to resolve the issue. This could involve an arthroplasty (joint replacement), an arthrodesis (joint fusion) or an osteotomy (bone realignment).

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones, making them vulnerable to injury and breaking. It tends to develop slowly in the body over a matter of years. It is usually only diagnosed once the patient has a minor fall or impact, which causes a fracture or breakage to the area—leading to its nickname: the ‘silent disease’. The disorder often damages the wrists, hips and spine along with other parts of the body. You may be at higher risk of developing osteoporosis if you are a long-term user of corticosteroids, have a low BMI, have a family history of osteoporosis or are a heavy drinker or smoker.

Tackling the problem 

Treatment for osteoporosis involves medication for strengthening bones and treating the fractures. Doctors will recommend to maintain levels of vitamin D and calcium which may involve changes in diet or taking supplements. Your doctor will take into account your age, bone density, previous injury history and risk of fracture to determine the treatment best for you. Most commonly prescribed are bisphosphonates; drugs that slow down bone damage. Sometimes hormone replacement therapy and testosterone treatments are prescribed when osteoporosis is exacerbated by hormone imbalances.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is an irritation or inflammation of the tendon—the thick cord that connects bone to muscle. It is sometimes caused by minor repetitive impact in a particular area, although it can also be the result of a sudden, more serious injury. Improper posture, repetitive action, sports or lack of stretching are all culprits of this condition. Those who tend not to engage in impactful exercise often suffer the most; for example, people who only undertake hard exercise at the weekend may be more susceptible to it.

Tackling the problem

Tendinitis is an irritation or inflammation of the tendon—the thick cord that connects bone to muscle. It is sometimes caused by minor repetitive impact in a particular area, although it can also be the result of a sudden, more serious injury. Improper posture, repetitive action, sports or lack of stretching are all culprits of this condition. Those who tend not to engage in impactful exercise often suffer the most; for example, people who only undertake hard exercise at the weekend may be more susceptible to it.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a disorder that involves a tingling sensation, feelings of numbness and sometimes pain in the fingers and hand. Other symptoms can also include dull aches in the arm, thumb weakness and paraesthesia (pins and needles). CTS is caused by compressions of the median nerve; this nerve is responsible for sensation and hand movement. You may be at higher risk of developing CTS if you are pregnant, have a family history of it, have diabetes or undergo strenuous work with your hands.

Tackling the problem

In some cases CTS can disappear or subside through self-care measures. With pregnant women, the condition can disappear after delivery—the effects of CTS in pregnant women remain in just a few cases. Surgery is an option to resolve mild forms of CTS immediately, however more severe cases may see little to no change afterwards. Non-surgical options include wrist splints or corticosteroid injections into the affected area.

 

See also: Natural Methods To Relieve Painful Joints