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Why you should not ignore joint pain, stiffness in your body

IANS Mar 28, 2024

Ignoring subtle aches, joint pain, stiffness, and swelling -- the common symptoms of osteoarthritis -- can significantly affect your mobility, said health experts on 27 March.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) -- the most common form of arthritis. The condition majorly affects weight-bearing joints, including the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

As people age, the degenerative disease impacts mobility and daily routine due to cartilage degradation.

While there has been a significant rise in joint pain cases, a majority tend to ignore the condition calling it a part of ageing, increasing the risk of further complications, Dr. Rajeev Verma, Joint Replacement Surgeon, Manipal Hospitals, New Delhi said.

"Osteoarthritis often develops gradually. Don't dismiss subtle aches and stiffness as a normal part of ageing. Early detection and intervention are crucial for managing this condition effectively and preserving your mobility,” he said.

The doctor said that at early stages, pain, tenderness, and joint stiffness tend to be limited to very specific times such as early morning or after high-impact physical activities. But as the condition advances, a patient may experience pain even when at rest or in simple household activities.

"The disease remains a challenge in India because patients often approach doctors when the damage to the joint is considerably advanced. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition, so in advanced cases, it is often impossible to reverse the damage done without joint replacement surgery," Dr Verma said.

"The primary objectives of osteoarthritis treatment options are to control symptoms and enhance joint function. This can involve taking NSAIDs and painkillers, physical therapy to improve joint strength and mobility, weight management techniques, pain injections, joint replacement surgery in extreme situations, and lifestyle changes like using assistive technology to lessen joint strain," said Dr. Akhilesh Yadav.

He noted that compared to men, women are more prone to the disease, especially after menopause.

To prevent or postpone the onset of osteoarthritis, one must "eat a balanced diet full of vital nutrients, manage a healthy weight, exercise frequently to strengthen muscles and increase joint flexibility, prevent joint injuries, and use good ergonomics when performing daily tasks", the doctor said.

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