Osteoarthritis Information

Osteoarthritis Information

Of the various types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting over 21 million people in the United States alone. The frequency of osteoarthritis increases with age. Osteoarthritis has a slightly greater likelihood of affecting men when it occurs in those younger than forty-five years old. However, after age fifty-five, women are significantly more often affected than males.

 

 

OSTEOARTHRITIS

Anatomy As It Relates To Osteoarthritis Arthritis

A joint is a space where two or more bones connect with each other. For example, the humeroulnar joint in the elbow is where the ulna and humerus come together. This joint is what allows the elbow to circumduct, flex, and extend. Each bone inside a joint is covered by cushioning cartilage that prevents the bone surface from actually making direct contact with one another. It functions to reduce friction and acts as a shock absorber during movement. Cartilage is normally firm, but it has a rubbery consistency that allows it to flatten out when compressed. A joint capsule forms a protective wall around the joint as it attaches to the corresponding bones just under and above the joint. The bones of the joint are prevented from coming apart by ligaments. Tendons attach bone to muscle; as the muscle moves, so does the tendon attached to the bones making up the joint. All of these structures work together to make smooth and fluid movement possible.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is also called hypertrophic osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. This is because osteoarthritis involves the wear and tear (degenerative process) on joints.

The cushioning cartilage between the bones thins, stiffens, loses elasticity, and wears away through the wear and tear a person subjects it to throughout their life. As this process continues, there isn’t enough cartilage to protect against bone rubbing against bone and provide for adequate shock absorption. Bony spurs may form from the bone friction. The stiff and inelastic cartilage also leaves the joint more susceptible to injury. The thinned cartilage causes ligaments and tendons to abnormally stretch, eventually loosening and weakening them to the point that joint stability is compromised.

Osteoarthritis may affect any joint, but it most commonly occurs in the larger weight-bearing joints of the body (spine, knees, and hips) and the smaller weight bearing joints of the body (thumb, fingers, neck, and great toe)

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

The exact cause of osteoarthritis is often unknown. This form of arthritis is considered age-related, but it isn’t clear why some are affected and some aren’t. There are many factors that are thought to lead to developing osteoarthritis:

* family genetics (osteoarthritis is thought to run in certain blood lines)
* obesity (places additional stress on the joints)
* previous damage to the joint or bone affected (fractures or pulled muscles)
* overuse and repetitive stress from hobbies, work, or sports
* bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia (blood can seep into the joint)
* history of other types of arthritis ( gout or rheumatoid arthritis)
* conditions that interfere or block the affected joints blood supply (avascular necrosis)
* bone deformities

What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis?

* symptoms most often develop slowly and progressively worsen
* a deep aching joint pain
* initially, pain may intensify during and after activity and subside with rest
* as osteoarthritis progresses, pain may be present even when resting
* there may be a feeling or audible grating with joint motion
* progressively worsening joint stiffness
* pain may be worse during humid or wet weather
* joint motion may increasingly become limited
* joint swelling and tenderness
* connective muscles may be weakened
* bone spurs may develop around the affected joint

 

Exercises

1. In relation to a degenerative arthritic condition, the goal of any exercise is to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint and maintain range of motion to prevent joint degeneration from progressing. Of course, this must be done without overly stressing the anatomical structures. The Stretching and Strengthening exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility, while not further inflaming or irritating the joint.


Massage Treatment

1. The arthritic joints should be frequently massaged.

2. One at a time, you should gently take hold of and release each muscle group surrounding the joint.

3. Depress and propel your fingers in a circular pattern around the soft tissues of the joint, paying special attention to the crevices near joints and between bones.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the arthritic area because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured arthritic area, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured arthritic area as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the arthritic area, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the arthritic area, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the arthritic area can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your arthritic area to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the arthritic area. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your arthritic area with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in the arthritic area that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your arthritic area may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your arthritic area you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the arthritic area, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your arthritic area with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. Sinew Injury Poultice and/or the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Apply the Sinew Injury Poultice on your arthritic area to relieve residual pain and stiffness, significantly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and further promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Injury Poultice is particularly useful if your arthritic area is more painful in cold and damp weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment and/or the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.

3. Soak your arthritic area with the Sinew Warming Soak to ease joint pain, increase range of motion, and strongly increase local circulation to drive coldness and dampness out of damaged tissues. The Sinew Warming Soak is particularly useful if your arthritic area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. The soak can be used by saturating a towel in the liquid and applying it to your arthritic area. Chronic Sinew Liniment and/or the Sinew Injury Poultice can be used in-between applications.

4. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.