Arthritis and osteoarthritis: how they differ, symptoms, treatment and prevention

difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis

Modern medicine knows dozens, if not hundreds, of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. However, most often the inhabitants of our country are diagnosed with "arthritis" and "osteoarthritis", especially in the summer season, when people, forgetting about all precautions, cultivate the flower beds from morning to evening. What can this mean and, above all, how to avoid joint diseases?

Arthritis and osteoarthritis: what is the difference

There is a huge difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis. The ending "-itis" in Latin, which is considered the native language of medicine, always indicates that there is an active process of inflammation in the body. This is, relatively speaking, the first stage of joint disease.

But osteoarthritis is in most cases a natural consequence of arthritis.

Dmitry Tarasov gives an analogy comparing joint diseases with fresh and old calluses. In the first case, fluid accumulates under the skin - the wound becomes inflamed and causes discomfort. An old callus does not hurt - the skin is dead and therefore insensitive. It’s the same with a joint: in the last stage of osteoarthritis, there are no cartilage cells left, only the bone itself that forms the joint — this is what we call osteoarthritis.

The terms "arthritis" and "osteoarthritis" apply to all joints. Their pathologies can be divided into several groups:

  • diseases of the large joints, namely the hip and knee;
  • spinal pathologies associated with radicular syndromes, intervertebral discs and facet joints;
  • arthritis and osteoarthritis of small joints;
  • diseases of the wrists, elbows and radiocarpal joints.

As Dmitry Tarasov notes, joint pathologies in the early stages are treated conservatively. Anti-inflammatories and chondroprotectors are prescribed - drugs that improve the functions of damaged joints and limit the load on them using crutches or a cane.

The main task of the doctor is to reduce the manifestations of the process and "smooth out" the arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, unlike arthritis, cannot be cured by conservative methods. There is only one way out: endoprostheses, arthroplasty. This is why it is so important to take care of your joints throughout your life, from a young age, and not just when they start to hurt.

Causes of arthritis

The most common cause of arthritis is the natural course of life of the joint. With age, cartilage thins and is destroyed. Therefore, doctors say that almost all elderly people can be diagnosed with this disease.

However, arthritis can occur for other reasons. Most often due to diseases associated with metabolic disorders. Or, say, a person catches a cold, gets sick, and the causative agent of the disease enters the joint, causing its inflammation - this is also arthritis, but of a different nature.

The most common are arthritis resulting from stress and injury. I arrived at the dacha, dug the beds or went to the gym - and the next day my knee joints were swollen. After a few days, the pain gradually subsided. This is post-exercise arthritis.

A sedentary lifestyle is also harmful to the joints. Moreover, the expression "movement is life", according to the expert, mainly applies to the joints. They need to move to function properly. And if a person isn't active, their muscles and ligaments – everything that forms the stability of the joint – begin to weaken. And at the slightest load they can fail.

What to do if you are shot in the back

Everyone knows the feeling of a bullet in the back. As a rule, the pain lasts for a few minutes, and then the person happily forgets about the unpleasant incident. Till next time.

In fact, shooting back pain can be associated with many serious reasons and therefore should not be ignored. First of all, you need to contact a neurologist or orthopedist. The doctor will prescribe certain research methods: x-ray or MRI. After that, the further algorithm of actions will become clear.

So, if the examination shows that the back pain is muscular, the doctor will exclude certain movements and recommend reducing physical activity. However, it is possible that lumbago in the back is associated with damage to the intervertebral discs, the formation of protrusions and hernias - then emergency treatment will be required, including surgical intervention.

It is important to know that the treatment of spinal pathologies is often carried out by neurologists and spinal surgeons rather than orthopedic surgeons. And that makes sense, given the proximity between the spine and the nervous system.

Will vitamins and orthopedic protection help?

Many people take vitamins for bones and joints without a doctor's prescription. However

Dmitry Tarasov warns that in this case they will not help, but rather harm. For example, increased calcium intake will strengthen bones, but could negatively impact kidney function. That is why, before starting a course of vitamins, you must definitely consult a doctor - an endocrinologist or therapist.

Another way to protect your joints is to purchase orthopedic products: knee pads, corsets, orthotics, bandages. However, such products "take over" some of the functions provided by the human musculo-ligamentous system. If healthy, wearing orthotics will lead to the fact that the ligaments and muscles will begin to become "lazy" and weaken. And this can cause serious pathologies. There is only one conclusion: before buying "protection" for the joints, consult a doctor.

When participating in active sports, always wear elbow and knee protection. They will not save you from serious joint injuries, but they will minimize their damage and also protect the skin from damage.