Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear that occurs in joints. It’s sometimes called arthrosis or osteoarthrosis or degenerative joint disease. In the spine the degenerative process is called spondylosis.
Osteoarthritis happens over time and is a natural process. It occurs as we get older, but can also happen after injuries to your joints. The process of osteoarthritis starts as the cartilage on the ends of the bones becomes rough and thin. The bone beneath the cartilage thickens, sometimes making little bony spurs called osteophytes. You might also get thickening in the fluids of the joint, causing a joint to swell. This will also make the joint feel stiffer.
Interestingly, osteoarthritis doesn’t always cause pain. Just because there is wear and tear in the joint doesn’t mean it will be painful. This can complicate your diagnosis and prognosis.
For example: you might have strained your knee after walking strangely because you stubbed your toe. On x-ray there may be evidence of osteoarthritis, but actually the pain is being caused by a soft tissue strain from you walking strangely.
It’s important to know the difference, because if it’s just a strain it can be treated and the pain should go away.
Having arthritis doesn’t mean you have to sit in a chair for the rest of your life. There is so much you can do to reduce the pain. Come and talk to us!Georgia Brawn, Registered Osteopath