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What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints.  About 27 million Americans are affected by Osteoarthritis.  Hips and knees are the parts that are majorly affected by osteoarthritis.  The condition can affect anyone including both young and old.  The chances of developing osteoarthritis increases after the age of 45 years with women being at high risk than men.

What causes osteoarthritis?

Anyone can develop osteoarthritis.  However, certain factors can increase the chances of one developing osteoarthritis of the hips and knees.  The factors include:

Age

Cartilage begins to deteriorate making the bone endings unable to slide over the other smoothly.  The hips and knees become unable to absorb shock and even bend.

Hereditary

These are genetic mutations, and abnormalities in bone shapes.  Such cases can increase one’s chances of getting osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.

Gender

Women, particularly those above 55 years are at high risk of developing the condition.

Repeated injuries

This depends on the type of activity that one engages in.

Weight

Too much weight can exert intense pressure on the joints particularly knees.

Other illnesses

An individual with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis has high chances of developing osteoarthritis.  Other disorders such as excess growth hormone and iron overload can heighten the risk of getting osteoarthritis.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis symptoms develop gradually over time.  Among them include tenderness, pain, poor flexibility, stiffness, grating sensation, and bone spurs.

A naturopathic medical perspective on how to relieve and prevent osteoarthritis

Natural treatments can help prevent, help and relieve osteoarthritic hip and knee. For those who don’t want medications, below are the natural ways of managing the condition.

Exercises

Low-impact physical activities such as swimming, tai chi, yoga, stationary biking, and stretching can help keep hips flexible and move smoothly. Stretches should be done on a regular basis and in a gentle manner.  When exercising, it is paramount to exercise caution to avoid worsening the pain.
Gentle weight training combined with aerobic workouts are other natural treatment methods for osteoarthritis.  It helps to strengthen and support the muscles around the joints affected.

Physical therapies

Some of the alternative therapies that can help with knee and hip pain include acupuncture and massage.  Acupuncture aids to increase blood circulation to affected parts and promote natural healing.  It dislodges all the fluids and toxins that cause inflammation thus reducing swelling. Acupuncture also helps to relax and loosen the trigger points.  Similarly, massage helps to promote the recovery process and strengthens muscle tissues thus preventing future injuries.  It does so by soothing the muscle spasms.  A massage therapist will stroke and knead the sore muscles to stimulate blood flow to stressed parts making it feel relaxed.

Heat or ice therapies

Thermotherapy is a natural treatment for arthritis.  It employs the use of cold or heat to relieve pain in hips and knees.  Icing can help relieve acute pain while moist heat can remedy chronic knee and hip pain. In most cases, people use anti-inflammatory creams.  However, one should seek help on how to use these techniques for best results.

Orthotics

These are mechanical devices that support and protect osteoarthritic knees and hips.  A brace is placed around the inflamed part for pain and stress relief.  Shoes are other orthotics that can help to absorb shock when walking.

Self-care techniques

One’s lifestyle can either contribute or reduce the chances of developing osteoarthritis.  Those who are overweight should consider losing weight to reduce pressure hip and knee joints.

Bottom Line

Knee and hip pain can be very devastating.  It can lead to disability if not managed on time.  Acupuncture, orthotics, self-care, massage, and exercises are some of the natural techniques that can help manage hip and knee pain.

Pure Health Natural Medicine | 745 NW Mt Washington Dr, Suite 104 Bend, Oregon 97703 | (541) 639-3494 | Functional Medicine Bend, OR | Acupuncture Bend, OR | Naturopath Bend, OR

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