Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis which is affecting millions of people in the world. It generally occurs when the top layer of cartilage (slippery tissue that coats the ends of bones) breaks and wears out. However in the healthy state of joint the cartilage allows bones to slip over each other and absorbs the shock of movement.

In the condition of osteoarthritis the bones present under the cartilage starts rubbing together. This causes pain, loss of motion and swelling. This results in the loss of shape by the joint with time. Sometimes the bone spurs grow on the edges of the joints. When bits of cartilage or bone break off and start floating inside the joint space, the pain increases.

Osteoarthritis patients often suffer joint pain and decreased motion. However like other forms of arthritis it does not affect internal organs.

The major risks and causes behind the osteoarthritis are as follows:

  • Age: You may be at the greater risk of developing osteoarthritis on reaching older age.
  • Gender: Women are more prone to get affected with osteoarthritis then males.
  • Obesity: The overweight people have more chances of developing osteoarthritis. One of the reasons behind this is fat tissues that produce the proteins which may cause inflammation around your joints.
  • Joint injuries: The joint injuries can take place while playing sports or due to an accident. These injuries increase the chances of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Certain occupations: The occupation that need continuous stress on particular joints can increases the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics: The people with family history of osteoarthritis carry more chances of developing it.
  • Bone deformities: Malformed joints or imperfect cartilages may increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis can occur slowly but they will become worse with time. The major signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • Pain: You may feel pain on movement of joint or after that.
  • Tenderness: You may feel that your joint is tender when you apply a slight pressure on it.
  • Stiffness: The stiffness of joint can be most noticeable in the morning or after the state of inactivity.
  • Loss of flexibility: You may be unable to move your joint with complete range of motion.
  • Grating sensation: There may be a grating sensation on the use of joint.
  • Bone spurs: Bones like hard lumps can be seen formed around the affected joint.

Diagnose of osteoarthritis may include following steps:

  • Physical examination: The doctor examines the affected joint and checks the tenderness, redness, swelling and motion in the joint. After this your doctor may advise you imaging and lab tests.
  • Imaging tests: The X-ray is done to reveal the cartilage loss and reduced space between the joints. In complex cases the MRI is recommended to get the detailed images of soft tissues and bones.
  • Lab tests: To determine whether the pain and inflammation is due to arthritis or infection your doctor may draw fluid from the affected joint.

You can manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis by changing your lifestyle and by maintaining your body weight to normal. However your doctor will suggest you the following:

Medicines for Osteoarthritis

  • Oral analgesics: Acetaminophen is beneficial for the osteoarthritis patient who suffers from the mild to moderate pain.
  • NSAIDs: The recommended doses of Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are advised to relieve osteoarthritis pain. The stronger NSAIDs can help to decrease the inflammation by treating pain also. But the NSAIDs may upset your stomach, or can cause bleeding problems, cardiovascular problems, and liver and kidney damage. Topical NSAIDS can also be used to relieve pain.
  • In some cases Duloxetin which is an antidepressant is used to treat chronic pain of osteoarthritis.

Therapy for Osteoarthritis:

  • Physical therapy: The physical therapy will help you to strengthen the muscles around your joint that will help you to reduce the pain and enhance the motion and reduce pain. Even gentle exercise as walking in routine can help you efficiently.
  • Occupational therapy: You can take the help of occupational therapist to make your everyday tasks easy such as using a bench to do standing job rather than standing for long time if you have knee osteoarthritis.
  • Yoga or Tai chi: Your doctor may also suggest you yoga or tai chi that has gentle stretches and exercises. However you need to avoid the moves that cause pain in your joints.

Surgeries and Other Procedures for Osteoarthritis:

  • Cortisone injections: You can use three to four injections in a year to relive joint pain because more than this can damage your joint badly. The doctor numbs the area around your joint before injecting the medication.
  • Lubrication injections: The injections of hyaluronic acid are used to relieve the pain by cushioning in your knee as hyaluronic acid is similar to one the joint fluids.
  • Realigning bones: This surgery is used if one side of knee is more damaged. In this surgery your doctor cuts across the bone and then eliminates or inserts a wedge of bone. This helps to reduce the body weight from the worn-out portion of the knee.
  • Joint replacement: It is a surgery in which surgeon take away the damaged joint surfaces and replaces it with plastic and metal parts. This surgery can lead to blood clots or infections.

Alternative Medicines and Therapies:

Some of the alternative medicines can help you to get relief from osteoarthritis as:

  • Acupuncture for osteoarthritis: Acupuncture can help you to get relieved from the pain if you suffer from knee osteoarthritis. In this procedure hair-thin needles are introduced into your skin at specific spots.
  • Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis: Ayurvedic treatment for Osteoarthritis is done with herbal medicines that possess anti-inflammatory effects.

    For instance the medicines containing ingredients like Guggulu (Boswellia serreta and Commifora mukul) and those which strengthen the cartilages and bones are used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Ayurvedic treatment also includes the application of medicated oils to the affected joints to get relief from pain and improving capability. However this treatment is not effective in getting immediate pain relief.

  • Homoeopathic treatment of osteoarthritis: Commonly used homeopathic medicines for Osteoarthritis are Bryonia Alba, Arnica Montana, Calcaria carbonate, Radium bromide etc. they are helpful in providing relief from pain and stiffness.
  • Kairali massage: Tila Taila (Sesame oil), Murivenna, Mahanarayana Tailam, Mahamasha Tailam, or Guggulutiktakam Ghritam etc are the different massage oils used in the treatment of osteoarthritis of knee.
  • Unani treatment of osteoarthritis: Leeching (Regimental therapy) is thought to decrease the swelling in osteoarthritis of knee. Some of the Unani herbs are used in the treatment of osteoarthritis but they do not contribute much in providing a relief.

    Alternative treatments of osteoarthritis are not much reliable as they provide slow relief from the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Dietary supplement for osteoarthritis:

Dietary supplements are vitamins, herbs, minerals, and many other products that play a major role in the maintenance of health. They are available as pills, drinks, capsules, powders and energy bars. For instance vitamin D and calcium are vital to keep bones strong. Below mentioned is a dietary supplement that is helpful in both treatment and management of osteoarthritis.

  • GLME (Green Lipped Mussel Extract): GLME (Green lipped mussel extract) is the best dietary supplement for the patients of osteoarthritis. It is obtained from the green lipped mussel which is a shell fish grown in the farms of New Zealand in the sheltered waters near to the shore. It has a marine origin and is highly beneficial for the condition of osteoarthritis as it has great nutritional value that makes it unique.

Following are the potential benefits of GLME (Green lipped mussel extract) in the treatment and management of osteoarthritis:

  • It improves the joint lubrication and inhibits the cartilage deterioration. It aids the repair of damaged cartilage and improves the joint mobility. It helps to reduce the pain, inflammation and stiffness.
  • It protects the stomach lining by acting as Gastro-protective. It protects the stomach lining from the severe reactions of the other medicines used in this type of arthritis.
  • It not only treats the osteoarthritis but also aids the other medicines used in this medical condition to show their maximum efficiency.
  • It reduces the pain, inflammation and stiffness by controlling the inflammatory process of arthritis through multiple mechanisms.

GLME (green lipped mussel extract) is available under various brand names. However the best formulation is available under the brand name of Seatone (capsules) because:

  • Seatone is extracted only from the premium, fresh mussels when they are in peak condition only with the intention of producing a therapeutic product for joints. The Company keeps full control of the practice, to make sure that harvesting is done at the best times of each year.
  • A number of studies have been conducted to check the toxicity of Seatone. However no toxic effects are observed in the test subjects at 120 times of the standard dose. Seatone has not shown any toxicity at very high dosages and even it has not shown any teratogenic effects.

Seatone is better than other treatments available for osteoarthritis because:

  • Seaton has a natural origin and it is obtained in a very pure and safe form. It is safer than any other treatment as it does not carry any side effects. However other treatments of osteoarthritis show side effects. For instance an overdose of acetaminophen can damage liver and NSAIDs can cause liver damage, stomach irritation and other problems.
  • Other medicines for osteoarthritis can cause damage to the delicate lining of stomach while Seatone protects the stomach lining from the harsh reactions of these medicines by acting as Gastro-protective.
  • Like surgeries it can never cause blood clot or infection. It is highly safe.
  • Medicines for osteoarthritis provide fast and temporary effects while the Seatone will provide gradual and progressive relief which is usually long lasting.
  • It not only provides relief from the pain and swelling as NSAIDs but also offers gradual enhancement in grip strength and mobility.
  • Slightly higher doses of Seatone do not show any side effects. However higher doses of analgesics or NSAIDs can cause adverse effects.

Changes in your lifestyle and some treatments can help you to manage the pain and disability. Therefore to cope up with the condition of osteoarthritis you may follow the following:

  • Exercise: Osteoarthritis can be managed by exercise that can strengthen your muscles around joint. You can choose swimming and walking.
  • Lose weight: You should lose weight to manage the osteoarthritis as this will relieve pressure on joints and reduce pain.
  • Heat and cold therapy: You can use heat and cold for the management of muscle spasm and pain.
  • Over-the-counter creams: Topical capsaicin or over-the-counter creams can also be used over a painful joint as an alternative to NSAIDS. They will provide you only short term relief.
  • Braces or shoe inserts: Your doctor can advise you to use shoe inserts which helps you to decrease the pain when you are standing or walking.
  • Knee taping: Strapping tape can help you to get relief from the knee pain in osteoarthritis.
  • Assistive devices: Assistive devices can help you to perform routine activities with less stress on painful joint.

Osteoarthritis cannot be prevented surely. However its risk can be reduced and its onset can be delayed. If you have healthy joints then you must do all the efforts to maintain their mobility and function. You cannot do anything in case of non modifiable risk like your gender and genes but for modifiable risk factors you should pay attention. To reduce the risk of Osteoarthritis you should maintain the body weight.

According to medical experts most of the osteoarthritis cases stabilize and small number of patients improves suddenly. However, some cases of osteoarthritis progress.

Disclaimer : All information on this website is only for general educational purpose and it cannot substitute the consultation with a doctor. It is highly suggested that you seek advice from doctor to determine your requirements. Women who are in their gestation or lactation period and children should not take any supplement without the consultation of their doctor.