#backpainblog, #BACKPAINBLOGUK, #fibromyalgia, #health, #lowbackpain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis.

LIVING WITH THE PAIN OF OSTEOARTHRITIS…

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis patients are mostly affected in the hands, hips and knees, experiencing pain, aching, stiffness, decreased range of motion and swelling.

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness, and problems moving the joint. Some people also have symptoms such as: – swelling – tenderness – grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints

The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints.

For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. Other people can experience more continuous and severe problems which make it difficult to carry out everyday activities.

Almost any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the condition most often causes problems in the knees, hips and small joints of the hands as spoken about above.

Genetics can play a part in determining whether a person will develop osteoarthritis, but other factors are also at work. It is the process of the breaking down of cartilage in the joints and the inflammatory response to that.

The symptoms may come and go in episodes, which can be related to your activity levels and even the weather. In more severe cases, the symptoms can be continuous. Mine seem to come and go and I am definitely very stiff and in pain first thing in a morning. A morning hot shower and some medication soon gets me moving better.

My main pain is in my sacroiliac joint and given the vital role that the large SI joint plays in transferring upper body weight to the lower extremities, it is commonly affected in osteoarthritis. In particular to people who have had lumber spinal fusion which puts more pressure on the SI joint. People who have osteoarthritis in their SI joints often develop osteophytes or bone spurs around the joint, leading to pain and dysfunction. I have just had this confirmed after my recent MRI.

Other symptoms you or your doctor may notice include:

  • joint tenderness
  • increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while
  • joints appearing slightly larger or more “knobbly” than usual
  • a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints
  • limited range of movement in your joints
  • weakness and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk)

They say you should make sure you are not overweight ( I’m not) and to try and exercise daily. Regular exercise can build muscle strength, ease joint pain and stiffness and lower your disability risk. Stretching, walking and water aerobics are good activities for people with osteoarthritis. I can only manage walking but I try and walk at least 20 minutes each day which is around 3,000 steps.

There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but the condition does not necessarily get any worse over time. In a few cases, where other treatments have not been helpful, surgery to repair, strengthen or replace damaged joints may also be considered.

Surgery for this problem would mean fusion surgery, a bone graft and/or instruments are used to encourage bone growth over the sacroiliac joint and create one immobile unit. Joint fusion can effectively reduce pain and instability caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction or inflammation (sacroiliitis). This is a last resort if my steroid injection doesn’t last for long but not one I am thinking of embarking on in the near future.

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WORLD OSTEOPOROSIS DAY OCTOBER 20th, 2020…

World Osteoporosis Day takes place this year on October 20th, 2020. It marks a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. WOD aims to make osteoporosis and fracture prevention a global health priority by reaching out to health-care professionals, the media, policy makers, patients, and the public at large. The campaign will feature “THAT’S OSTEOPOROSIS” as a headline, highlighting emotionally impactful visuals and stories of real people living with osteoporosis in all regions of the world.

The campaign will emphasize the direct link between osteoporosis (the silent, underlying disease) and broken bones, which have a serious, life-changing impact in terms of pain, disabilityand lost independence. It will also focus on osteoporosis as a ‘family affair’, with family caregivers often carrying the burden of care, and the disease affecting multiple generations of the family.

What is Osteoporosis?

  • Osteoporosis is the underlying cause of painful, debilitating and life-threatening broken bones – known as fragility fractures.
  • Osteoporosis is a growing global problem: worldwide, fractures affect one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50.
  • Osteoporosis affects families – family members often bear the burden of care
  • If one of your parents had osteoporosis or hip fracture, this may increase your own risk of developing the disease. Take the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check to identify your risk factors.
  • At risk? Be sure to request a bone health assessment – take early action for prevention!
  • Bone health concerns the entire family – ensure your family maintains a bone healthy lifestyle.
  • Advocate! Sign the IOF Global Patient Charterand join OAD in calling on healthcare providers to close the massive ‘care gap’ which leaves many patients unprotected against a cycle of disabling fractures.

As most of my readers will know I have recently been diagnosed with Osteopenia which the NHS explains is the stage before osteoporosis. This is when a bone density scan shows you have lower bone density than the average for your age, but not low enough to be classed as osteoporosis.

Osteopenia does not always lead to osteoporosis. It depends on many factors. If you have osteopenia, there are steps you can take to keep your bones healthy and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Your doctor may also prescribe one of the bone-strengthening treatments that are given to people with osteoporosis, depending on how weak your bones are and your risk of breaking a bone. I have been put on medication twice a day and told to do some core workouts.

I do wonder however that had my pain team not sent me for a bone scan whether in a few years time, mine could have turned into Osteoporosis so I have been very lucky that it has been spotted.

If you head to the World Osteoporosis Day website you can read the inspiring, real-life stories of people from around the world who have been affected by osteoporosis and fragility fractures. And do not forget there is also a link on the site for you to see if you are at risk from Osteoporosis.

Help raise awareness of Osteoporosis in any way you can, post onto your media sites so it can be spread around the world on the 20th October.