Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It is a chronic condition in which the material that cushions the joints, called cartilage, breaks down. This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement. The cause is not fully understood.
About 27 million people in America have osteoarthritis. Common risk factors include increasing age, obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of the joint, weak thigh muscles and genetics.
Osteoarthritis symptoms usually develop gradually. At first, there may be soreness or stiffness that seems more like a nuisance than a medical concern. The pain may be moderate and come and go, without affecting the ability to perform daily tasks. The pain and stiffness of more severe osteoarthritis may make it difficult to walk, climb stairs, sleep, or perform other daily tasks.
Common symptoms include:
Sore or stiff joints–particularly the hips, knees, and lower back–after inactivity or overuse.
Stiffness after resting that goes away after movement.
Pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day.
OA can cause a crackling noise when the affected joint is moved or touched and
people may experience muscle spasms and contractions in the tendons.
Some people report increased pain associated with cold temperature, high humidity,
and/or a drop in barometric pressure.
In smaller joints, such as at the fingers, hard bony enlargements may form,
and though they are not necessarily painful, they do limit the movement of the fingers significantly.
There are several theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, from hormonal disturbances to stress to genetics.
Genetic factors may play a role in the development of fibromyalgia
Lack of physical activity
Psychological factors such as major depression.
Your doctor will often make a diagnosis after doing a physical exam and discussing your symptoms with you. The reason for this is that a diagnosis to large extent is based on the way you feel.
Complete blood count (CBC): Measures the hemoglobin, red cells, white cells and platelets.
It can also find many common blood disorders–such as anemia–that can cause fatigue.
Your doctor may ask for tests–including kidney and liver tests–that check blood chemistries.
level of cholesterol and other fats in your blood, calcium levels and more.
In addition, your doctor may run thyroid tests to see if your thyroid is overactive or underactive.
After ruling out another serious medical problem, your doctor will consider whether or not your condition meets these fibromyalgia criteria:
Pain has been present for a minimum of three months.
There is no other disease that would be causing these symptoms.
blood test–called FM/a–that identifies markers produced by immune system blood cells.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Treatments are prescribed to decrease pain, improve muscle and joint function, and help avoid triggers that can worsen the symptoms.
Some reduce pain, some relax tense muscles, some help with sleep, and some seek to correct neuro-chemical imbalances. Many people take several drugs to relieve symptoms.
Opioids Anticonvulsants (to prevent seizures)
Muscle Relaxants (to relax body and improve sleep)
Benzodiazepines (relieve anxiety, relax muscles and improve sleep)
Sleep Aids (to promote deeper sleep)
Trigger Point Injections (to relieve severe pain)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).