Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a degenerative disease that causes the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, especially in the hands, hips and knees, resulting in pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Traditional Western medicine typically treats osteoarthritis with medications such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, these medications can often have undesirable side effects like liver damage. Alternatively, Chinese medicine for knee pain offers a more natural approach to treating osteoarthritis.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones starts to break down. This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it often affects people as they age.
However, it can also occur due to an injury or other conditions such as obesity. Treatment for osteoarthritis typically focuses on relieving pain and improving joint function. This may involve a combination of medication, physical therapy, and exercise. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace damaged joints.
Although it can develop at any age, it is most common in older adults. These are the different factors that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
Joint trauma or surgery
Joint trauma and surgery are two of the most common causes of osteoarthritis. When a joint is injured, the cartilage that cushions the joint can be damaged. This damage can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness. In some cases, the cartilage can break down completely, exposing the bone beneath.
Surgery to repair a damaged joint often involves replacing the damaged cartilage with an artificial substitute. However, this artificial material is not as durable as natural cartilage, and it is more likely to break down over time, leading to osteoarthritis.
Obesity is a major risk factor for developing osteoarthritis, especially in weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. The added stress on these joints can lead to the breakdown of cartilage. In addition, obesity can also cause changes in joint alignment and increase joint fluids, both of which can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
Fortunately, obesity is a modifiable risk factor. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is an essential part of preventing or delaying the onset of osteoarthritis.
There is evidence that genetics play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. Studies of twins have shown that if one twin has osteoarthritis, the other has a significantly higher chance of developing the condition as well. This suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition to the disease. While more research is needed to confirm the role of genetics in osteoarthritis, it is clear that genes play some role in the development of this condition.
Certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout, can also increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that not only affects the joints but can also damage the skin, lungs and heart.
The exact link between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is not clear, but it is thought that the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis may damage the cartilage that protects the bones. This damage can eventually lead to the breakdown of cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but it is most commonly seen in the knees, hips, and hands with symptoms worsening over time. These include:
∙ Joint swelling
∙ Reduced range of motion
In some cases, the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to break down, leading to bone-on-bone contact. This can cause the bones to rub against each other, resulting in pain and inflammation.
How To Treat Osteoarthritis with Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture is an alternative form of Chinese medicine that involves the placement of thin needles into specific points on the body. This helps to stimulate the central nervous system and improve circulation. Some studies have shown that acupuncture can help relieve knee pain and improve mobility function.
Herbal remedies are another example of Chinese medicine used for knee pain. Different herbs can be used to treat osteoarthritis, each with its unique benefits. For example, ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, while turmeric can help to reduce pain and stiffness. Chinese medicine can provide natural relief from osteoarthritis without the use of harsh medications.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, getting proper treatment can help to relieve symptoms, and pain, and improve joint function. With treatment and maintenance, most people with osteoarthritis can live relatively normal lives.
Herbal Supplements for Osteoarthritis
Tong Jum Chew provides a range of herbal remedies, Chinese medicine and health supplements dedicated to bones and joints. Some of our products include Bone Nourishing Capsules and Bone and Joint Health Tablets. Browse through our product page to view our full range of Chinese medicine for knee pain.