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What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, inflammation and reduced movement of the joints. Although it may occur in any joint of the body, it usually affects hands, knees, hips and the backbone.
Osteoarthritis degrades the cartilage between the bone joints. The cartilage is a flexible tissue that covers the joints. A healthy cartilage absorbs the impact of movements but when it wears away, bones rub together. Over time, this friction can damage the joint permanently.
What are the causes of osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis appears gradually. Some factors that can contribute to the onset of the disease are:
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually appear in middle age. Almost everyone has some symptoms by the age of 70. Some people might not have symptoms, even though x-rays show the changes of osteoarthritis.
Pain and stiffness in the joints are the most common symptoms. The morning stiffness usually lasts for 30 minutes or less. It is improved by mild activity that "warms up" the joint. The pain may get worse with activity and feel better when you are resting. However, the pain may be present when you're resting. It may even wake you up at night.
What is the best treatment?
Integrative medicine is a medical approach that combines conventional medicine therapies and alternative or complementary medicine that have been scientifically validated. In rheumatic diseases such as osteoarthritis, techniques and treatments such as acupuncture, homeopathy and osteopathy have been proved effective in improving the patient’s health. A personalized attention is also necessary in order to identify the causes and the predisposition to the disease.