We start from the assumption that osteoarthritis could be considered not as a real “disease” but as an expression of the aging of the joints and that if anything pathological it can be considered the early onset. It is therefore a chronic degeneration of the articular cartilage, which leads to the modification of the bone tissue and causes a gradual loss of joint functionality. It affects all the joints of our body, starting from the spine (vertebrae) up to the large and small joints of the limbs, but mainly affects those subjected to the greatest load.
The progressive thinning of the articular cartilage (which, over time, is replaced by new bone tissue with radiologically visible calcium deposits), leads to pain, stiffness and limitation in movement.
There are numerous factors that can anticipate its onset and accelerate the process. The first is undoubtedly represented by the abnormal load exerted on a joint and therefore, all the factors capable of determining this state of abnormality can be considered possible risk factors: obesity, mechanical stress, trauma, and malformations, inflammatory states. The concomitance of the aforementioned risk factors naturally determine the extent and severity of the process.
From a statistical point of view, in Italy about 4 million individuals suffer from osteoarthritis. It occurs from the age of 40 and is more prevalent in individuals in their seventies, with the highest incidence between 75 and 80 years of age. With reference to data on gender, before the age of 45 the male is more affected, after this age the female(osteoporosis, which mainly affects postmenopausal women, is another cause of alteration of the loads on the joints).
If it is not a disease, we cannot even speak of the “cure” of arthrosis in the true sense of the word. What you can do is work on the symptoms (pain and limitation of movements) and encourage all the behaviors that slow down their progress.
Next to the range of steroidal and non-steroidal painkillers to which, however, it is better to resort only for a short period of time, physiotherapy offers a range of treatments that can be useful: massage therapy to relax the muscles that are often hypertonic when working on a suffering joint (” hard “) and to drain edema that focuses around an inflamed joint; guided mobilizations to gradually recover joint mobility; postural gymnastics to rebalance loads.
Not to be underestimated is a whole series of precautions and behaviors to be followed to better live with arthrosis, from which, let’s go back to saying, there is no cure.
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