Osteoarthritis: How to Deal with this Common Joint Disorder

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that Courtney Mehochko sees on the orthopedic unit at Memorial Medical Center.

It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time, according to MayoClinic.com. Joints in the knees, hips, hands, neck and lower back are the most affected.

“Osteoarthritis is caused by overuse of the joints – strain, stress, previous injuries,” Mehochko, RN, one of the charge nurses on Memorial Medical Center’s orthopedic unit, said during a radio interview with WTAX’s Bob Murray.

Women are typically more at risk for osteoarthritis than men, Mehochko said. Others at risk include anyone who is overweight or people in professions, such as construction workers or carpenters, in which their joints get a workout.

Indicators that you may be suffering from osteoarthritis include pain in your joints after moving around, swelling in your joints, or stiffness in your joints after you’ve been resting for a while. If you have these symptoms, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor, Mehochko said.

“If you’re having some pain in your joint and it’s only lasting a day or two, of course someone’s going to try regular pain medication to treat that,” she said. “But if you’re having a persistent problem, you should definitely go to your doctor.”

The earlier you receive treatment, the better results you’re going to have, Mehochko said.

As far as prevention of osteoarthritis, it helps to reach and maintain your ideal weight and to do all you can to avoid any stress or injury to your joints, she said. Treatments can include medication, physical therapy and weight reduction.

“By the time you get to me (in the hospital), they’ve decided that joint replacement is probably what you need,” Mehochko said. “It’s a surgical intervention, and it’s what we do to help people get their quality of life back.”

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