What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a degenerative disease caused by the breakdown of the hyaline cartilage on the end of bones that meet together to form joints. Billions of dollars are spent annually in its treatment and for lost days of work.
The exact cause of osteoarthritis is not known. It is often blamed on aging. However, biochemical, mechanical and genetic factors play a role in its development and progression. There is considerable evidence that a traumatic joint injury can initiate the degenerative cycle leading to osteoarthritis. It can also develop over time secondary to long-term joint stress, lack of exercise and poor dietary habits.
A direct traumatic injury or long-term joint stress may adversely alter the biomechanics and create abnormal joint loads. If the joint stress is not managed properly, chronic inflammation may develop and ultimately degenerative changes could develop in the affected joint. Lack of exercise leads to muscular weakness, muscle fatigue, muscle atrophy and loss of flexibility, which may contribute to joint stress. Poor dietary habits contribute to an excessive release of biochemicals, which may lead to chronic inflammation and increase your susceptibility to osteoarthritis.
A truly comprehensive approach in treating osteoarthritis should include eliminating long-term joint stress and addressing the following:
- Areas of abnormal joint biomechanics.
- Areas of abnormal muscle flexibility.
- Areas of muscle weakness.
- Chronic Inflammation.