Getting old is a pain…literally.
The aches and pains of an aging body can often be attributed to the most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis.
A slow growing pain
According to Elaine Husni, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, more than 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, which typically affects a person’s weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips and feet.
“It’s sort of a wear-and-tear arthritis, so just like it sounds, it’s the loss of cartilage over time to the point where bone then can unfortunately rub against bone and cause all of those symptoms of osteoarthritis,” said Dr. Husni.
Osteoarthritis is generally considered a non-inflammatory arthritis, as opposed to psoriatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Because it is non-inflammatory, Dr. Husni said that osteoarthritis is typically a slow-growing pain that develops over time.
Easing the burden
People with a history of sports-related injuries or who do activities in their jobs that require a lot of repetitive motions are especially susceptible to developing osteoarthritis at a younger age.
Doing things like yoga and regular strengthening exercises can help relieve arthritis pain for these patients.
Carrying excess weight can make a person more likely to experience pain in load-bearing joints, but Dr. Husni said that sometimes just shedding even a few pounds can help.
“We’ve seen actually by losing as little as two kilograms, that you can actually change the amount of force going through your knees,” said Dr. Husni. “So even making difference of 10 to 15 pounds could actually make a difference on your joints”
Dr. Husni said that when it comes to pain it’s best to let your body be your guide. She recommends to stop activity at the first sign of pain and that if the pain persists, to go see a doctor and get it checked out.