There are 150 types of arthritis, but the most common is called Osteoarthritis. It is a degenerative joint condition, and can range in severity from mild to quite severe, disabling pain. It typically starts with the breakdown of the flexible joint tissue known as cartilage and can lead to stiff and immobile joints. Many people can develop Osteoarthritis — men and women, older people and even children. Most commonly, osteoarthritis affects the knees, hips, spine and hands.
- Injuries to a joint may increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the future (for example, ligament injury in the knee). Be careful not to overwork a damaged or painful joint, and try to avoid repetitive or excessive joint movements.
- Being overweight or obese may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. Excess weight places additional strain on joints, particularly on the knees and hips, and can result in knee or back pain.
- Treatment options for mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis include over-the-counter pain relievers and heat therapy to reduce pain. Medical guidelines recommend paracetamol when an oral pain reliever is required to manage osteoarthritis pain.
- Physical therapy that includes strengthening exercises, staying active, losing weight and maintaining a positive attitude can also help manage osteoarthritis.