Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. More than 32.5 million adults in the US suffer from it.
Although there is no definitive cure, osteoarthritis can be managed and controlled.
Yet, many people delay timely treatment because the symptoms mirror those of other chronic ailments and may vary based on lifestyle.
Today, we’ll briefly go through osteoarthritis and its stages and how they can be treated.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can affect the hips, hands, or shoulders, but it is most common in the knees.
Thus, it is a joint disease characterized by deterioration of the cartilage.
Cartilage is a flexible connective tissue that surrounds the surfaces of the bones in our joints and cushions them against impact. When it degrades, it causes swelling and impairs a person’s movement.
Four Stages Of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is categorized into four stages depending on the severity of the illness.
Stage 1 (Early)
At this point, you probably only need minor lifestyle changes. There is very minimal wear-and-tear in the joints with little to no pain in the affected area.
Your doctor may recommend:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Exercise regimen modifications
Stage 2 (Mild)
By now, pain and discomfort start building up.
Even light, everyday movements may require extra effort. You may have trouble bending or straightening the damaged joints. The stiffness may further make it difficult to move around.
Treatment may require patients to:
- Lose weight
- Undertake low-impact activities
- Perform strength training
- Take vitamins
Additionally, patients may also need knee support.
Stage 3 (Moderate)
In stage 3, you notice that the affected area’s cartilage has begun to degrade, narrowing the distance between bone and joint.
Even typical everyday activities can cause joint inflammation, leading to discomfort.
Treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Prescription pain relievers,
- Hyaluronic injections (in severe cases)
Stage 4 (Severe)
Needless to say, the most advanced stage is also the most painful one.
In stage 4, the cartilage in the joint is nearly non-existent, resulting in significant inflammation. Overgrowth of bone spurs may also cause intense pain.
What is the solution?
Realignment or replacement surgery is often considered to treat this stage of OA.
Don’t Let Osteoarthritis Get In Your Way!
Being diagnosed with osteoarthritis doesn’t mean you have to live the rest of your life in constant pain.
At Lakeshore Pain & Spine Center, we offer multiple treatments to help manage the pain and improve the overall quality of life.
Get in touch today to learn more about our osteoarthritis treatment options!