The most common problem that affects the joints is osteoarthritis. The specific cause of osteoarthritis isn’t known, but aging is the main cause. Excessive use of muscles or joints throughout life (such as by sports players) can also increase someone’s risk of developing it when they are older. Most people over 70 experience symptoms of osteoarthritis regardless of lifestyle. It is sometimes just a part of aging. Knowing the symptoms and being treated for them regularly will go a long way in decreasing the severity of the disease.
Although not everyone has early symptoms, joint pain and stiffness are both early warning signs. The pain may be worse after periods of activity, or periods of rest. Some elderly people just think of these symptoms as part of the aging process that they can’t do anything about, but this isn’t the case.
If you have these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment plan. If you do not yet have symptoms and are elderly, it is still a good idea to get an X-ray. Your doctor will most likely recommend an X-ray, but if he/she does not, don’t hesitate to request one. Since it is known to run in families, it is especially important to be regularly tested after the age of 55 if there is a history of it in your family.
There are things that you can do at home to help your symptoms of osteoarthritis, but it is still very important to be under a doctor’s care. Your doctor will probably recommend taking over the counter acetaminophen or another type of NSAID. Alternating heat and cold to the sore areas can also provide relief. Maintaining a healthy weight, proper diet, and active lifestyle are also important things that you can to manage your Osteoarthritis.
There are also alternative treatments that some people have found useful such as acupuncture, or physical therapy. If you prefer natural treatments over medication, there are herbal supplements that promote healthy joints available without a prescription.