Why you get osteoarthritis and what helps
Around five million Germans suffer from osteoarthritis. The pain that arises from the wear and tear of the joints is often difficult to bear. Affected people then often take painkillers and are gentle. However, health experts advise people to move about in osteoarthritis.
Five million Germans have osteoarthritis
According to the German Osteoarthritis Aid in Frankfurt am Main, osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease. The hands, knees and hips are usually affected. Around five million people in Germany have osteoarthritis. Werner Dau is one of them. In a message from the dpa news agency it is reported that 15 years ago he suffered from stinging pain in the left shoulder, soon he could hardly move. "It hurt when I didn't move, and even more when I moved." He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and fought the acute pain with warmth and medication. The shoulder stabbing is still there, "but it can be endured," said the now 66-year-old. However, he now also has osteoarthritis in his right hip and knee.
Articular cartilage as a shock absorber
In the dpa report, the President of the German Rheumatism League in Bonn, Prof. Erika Gromnica-Ihle, explained that the joints where the ends of the bones meet are something like shock absorbers. More precisely, the articular cartilage - a smooth and elastic covering that protects the joints - is the shock absorber. In this way, the joints ensure that we can move and they buffer sudden and violent movements. The cartilage is “nourished” by the synovial fluid that the inner skin of the joint produces. Especially when people are moving. The cartilage can be injured, for example, by an accident or during sports. And especially in sports such as soccer or handball, where jerky movements or collisions are common. Other causes are incorrect and excessive strain on the joints. Overweight or incorrect posture or deformities such as X or O legs can also strain the joints.
When the bone changes
The risk of osteoarthritis also increases with age. “The cells in the cartilage lose their function in the course of life to form new, good cartilage tissue,” says Gromnica-Ihle. However, not everyone who suffers from cartilage wear is at an advanced age - osteoarthritis can also have genetic causes. "Small pieces of cartilage loosen," explained Prof. Andreas Imhoff of the German Arthrosis Aid in the agency report. However, experts only speak of osteoarthritis when the bone also changes.
Pain after a rest
The bone under the diseased cartilage thickens. In the course of osteoarthritis, the cartilage wears out more and more until finally, in the later stage, bone rubs directly on bone. Detached cartilage particles can irritate the inner skin of the joint, produce more synovial fluid, and an effusion soon forms. The joint becomes warm and thick and the patient feels inflammation pain. Among other things, osteoarthritis is noticeable to those affected by the fact that after a rest phase, such as after sitting for a long time, they feel pain or feel stiff when moving. "After a few minutes of movement, it will go again," said Gromnica-Ihle.
See your doctor at the first symptoms
Even with these first symptoms, it is advisable to have your family doctor or orthopaedist examine you, who usually already has the x-ray showing the narrowing of the joint space, the compression of the bone and bony spikes on the edges of the joints - so-called osteophytes - and, if necessary, the deformation of the joint can see. Magnetic resonance imaging or arthroscopy, a reflection of the joint, in which the surgeon inserts a mini-camera into the joint to examine the damage and, if necessary, treat it immediately, provides greater clarity.
Relieve pain in acute cases
In the acute case, the main thing is to alleviate the symptoms. For example, with pain medication or heat or cold applications as well as relief, as the dpa report states. Naturopathy also relieves osteoarthritis pain and stiffness. These include devil's claw and nettle extract. There is also a lot that Chinese medicine can do. Nutrition plays an important role in this. With osteoarthritis you shouldn't eat meat and little cheese. This is often also recommended by German nutrition experts.
The "three big B" help
As stated in the dpa report, the insertion of a joint prosthesis can be considered if the joint is badly damaged and the pain is always bad. "The right time for an operation is when the patient feels that he can no longer stand the pain," explained Gromnica-Ihle. “But you should always get a second opinion beforehand and also not only talk to doctors, but to other people affected.” Werner Dau mentioned at the beginning relies on the “three large B” to relieve pain, as he explained: “Movement, movement "Exercise." Although joint-friendly sports such as swimming, cycling, Nordic walking or hiking help many people affected, not every sport is suitable for all types of arthrosis. It is best for patients to speak to their doctor or a physiotherapist about this. Gromnica-Ihle emphasized that the progression of osteoarthritis has so far not been influenced, only the pain can be treated. Nevertheless, those affected can at least contribute some to the relief. Werner Dau revealed his very own remedy: "It helps me if I take a warm bath." (Ad)