Dealing With The Inevitable
Freeing Yourself Of Pain
By age 40, 90% of people have radiographic evidence of osteoarthritic changes in weight bearing joints, although they are asymptomatic. By the age of 55, osteoarthritis is the most common symptomatic joint disorder, most prevalent in women.
What is it?
Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, is a chronic disease in which degeneration and loss of articular cartilage occurs. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones at the joints and allows bones to glide over one another. This cartilage can break down and wear away and as a result, the bones rub together causing pain, swelling and stiffness. People with osteoarthritis most commonly report activityrelated joint pain that begins within a few minutes of starting an activity and may persist for hours after the activity has ceased.
The main physical signs are mild joint swelling, limited range of movement, loss of muscle girth, tenderness around the joint and crepitus (audible cracking noise in joints). The most debilitating aspect of osteoarthritis is that it eventually progresses to the point where pain is experienced even at rest.
What leads to OA?
Osteoarthritis usually happens gradually over time, however; there are some risk factors:
- Being overweight
- Joint injury
- Genetic defect in joint cartilage
- Stresses on the joints from certain jobs and playing sports
- Muscle weakness
- STRENGTH TRAINING
Proper strength training can significantly reduce the pain experienced as a result of osteoarthritis. The muscular system acts as a shock absorber and when the muscles around the joint suffering from osteoarthritis are strong they reduce the compressional forces on the joint. Strength training has been shown to decrease pain by 43%, improved physical performanceand increased joint stability.
What is traditionally prescribed to those suffering from osteoarthritis are various forms of anti-inflammatory medications, from Tylenol to stronger non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Celebrex.
- MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE
In pivotal research that has been done over the last decade on osteoarthritis, it has been shown that electro-acupuncture not only significantly reduces pain but also contributes greatly to restoration of function.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Pain is experienced in our nervous system. Electro-acupuncture has its effects on the nervous system by interrupting the pain signals to the brain, much like medications. However, the effects of medications wear off as our bodies accommodate whereas electroacupuncture has a direct effect on the nervous system that our body will never accommodate to. The result is that the decreased experience of pain can last up to 26 weeks post-treatment.
At FOCUS, we offer an advanced integrative approach of therapy and conditioning to prevent the development of osteoarthritis and support our patients suffering from osteoarthritis. With the use of electroacupuncture as well as individually designed strength training programs that can be done at home, and with ease, we will work to develop long term improvements in your experience of pain and loss of function from osteoarthritis.