Arthritis Awareness Month
Here are some numbers that might shock you: There are more than 100 types of arthritis and over 46 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease or chronic joint symptoms. With May being Arthritis Awareness Month, it’s a great time to reveal facts and dispel myths about arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of the disease, affecting everyone from actors like Neve Campbell to athletes such as Joe Namath. In fact, OA affects more than 27 million Americans, and is most likely to occur in knees, hips and hands.
The disease occurs when cartilage breaks down, causing bones to rub against one another. There are two types of OA, primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis is mostly due to old age and general wear and tear. Secondary osteoarthritis typically occurs earlier in life as a result of an injury or obesity.
Like many forms of arthritis, OA causes pain and stiffness and limits mobility. Our friends at the Arthritis Foundation (AF) offer advice on managing pain, and below is a list of 10 ways you can protect your joints courtesy of AF:
1. Maintain your ideal body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.
2. Move your body. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage. We can help you get started on an exercise program that works for you.
3. Stand up straight. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.
4. Use the big joints. When lifting or carrying, use the largest and strongest joints and muscles (e.g., lift with your legs, not with your back). This will help you avoid injury and strain on your smaller joints.
5. Pace yourself. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes OA.
6. Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don’t ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication that you have overstressed your joints.
7. Don’t be static. Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints.
8. Forget the weekend warrior. Don’t engage in activities for which your body isn’t prepared. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.
9. Wear proper safety equipment. Don’t leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure you get safety gear that is comfortable and fits appropriately.
10. Ask for help. Don’t try to do a job that is too big for you to handle. Get another pair of hands to help out.
At Orthopaedic Associates of Zanesville, we want what’s best for you so remember to follow the preventative tips above. Also, please take a few minutes to read another OAZ blog post about Rheumatoid Arthritis, because staying informed can help keep you healthy.
Tags: Arthritis, arthritis awareness month, Bone and Joint Health, Columbus Ohio Sports Medicine, joint health, OAZ, Ohio Orthopedic, Ohio Orthopedic doctor, Ohio Orthopedic Doctors, Ohio Orthopedics, Ohio Sports Injuries, Ohio Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Associates of Zanesville, osteroarthritis