Posts Tagged ‘osteoarthritis’


Depression is a most common side effect of osteoarthritis. This occurs when you start out healthy, being able to do things for yourself, but overtime you are less able to take care of yourself as the pains get worse. Research has shown that up to twenty percent of people with osteoarthritis are depressed at any given time, a percentage consistent with that found in other people with chronic diseases.

If osteoarthritis has left you depressed, there are a number of things you can do in addition to the arthritis treatment you get from your doctor.

1 Psychotherapy

This is often referred to as the ‘talking cure’, and it is used to treat mild episodes of depression.

2 Drug Therapy

This is the use of drugs to improve the symptoms of depression. The class of drugs used for this purpose is called antidepressants. It is advisable to consult your doctor before taking any antidepressant because medicines used in treating depression sometimes have different side effects.

Psychotherapy and drug therapy are mostly combined to treat arthritis patients with depression, and this combined approach has advantages.

  • It reestablishes normal body patterns more quickly
  • It helps to ensure compliance in taking medication
  • It recognizes the dual influence of biology and environment.

3 Learn to cope with your condition
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Research has shown that those who cope best with any disease are less likely to develop depression, that is, those who deal with their osteoarthritis are less likely to sink into depression. Be proactive at solving your problem, and try to be as flexible with your daily activities as possible. Be ready to modify your lifestyle in a positive way, thereby winning the battle over depression.

4 Get Social Support

It is advisable for you to join a support group where you can find sympathetic ears and get some advice on coping with your condition.

5 Learn to Relax

Always find a way to cool off and reduce your stress. The best defense against stress is a positive attitude.

Stress itself may not cause depression but can make it worse. It signals certain glands to release high-voltage chemicals that can ‘shock’ the body and weaken the immune system, making your osteoarthritis symptoms seem worse while increasing your risk of getting some other disease.

Do anything you can to relax and shake off the stress- listening to music, meditating, or taking up a hobby. Getting enough sleep is also essential to reducing stress.

6 Touch Therapy

Research has shown that touch can reduce psychological stress associated with arthritis. And only a very soft touch is required as bear hugs may be too much for many osteoarthritis sufferers. A gentle, loving touch can be very beneficial in fighting arthritis.

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Osteoarthritis back pain is one of the most commonly diagnosed sources of chronic dorsopathy, especially in the lumbar and cervical spinal regions. Arthritis comes in many varieties ranging from normal and asymptomatic to terrible and debilitating, but the osteo variety is particularly interesting to back pain scholars.

Osteoarthritic change is virtually universal in the spine of every adult human and is one of the greatest back pain scapegoats in the medical industry. It is the goal of this article to provide an objective view of this condition and how it relates to the way chronic pain is treated in the healthcare sector.

Osteoarthritis describes a condition that affects many of the joints in the body. It most commonly occurs in the hands, hips, knees, elbows, shoulders and spine, although it can strike virtually anywhere. The signs of the condition include a wearing away of the protective mechanisms in the joint capsules, as well as the growth of bone spurs called osteophytes. As the protective cartilage is worn down between bones, friction occurs, causing bone spurring to begin where one bone touches another. Spurring can be seen on diagnostic x-ray, although MRI technology will provide a far more comprehensive view of the actual joint deterioration.

All this sounds really bad, but the reality clearly shows that osteoarthritis is universal, normal and expected to experience as we get older. Most arthritis truly begins to kick in around middle age, although genetic and lifestyle factors can make it commence later or far earlier. Abnormal wear and tear on the joints can make arthritis take hold at unusually early ages in some cases. Widespread research shows that arthritis can certainly be responsible for minor discomfort and some occasional pain. However, there is no evidence linking mild to moderate arthritic change to the types of chronic back pain most commonly associated with the condition. Despite these findings, osteoarthritis continues to be the second most common back pain scapegoat, bested only by intervertebral disc concerns, such as degeneration and herniation.

When a patient complains of back pain, doctors virtually always look for a structural source on which to blame the symptoms. This is an inherent practice of Cartesian medical philosophy. The advent of advanced diagnostic imaging technologies has made it simple to look into the joints and find evidence of arthritic changes which are subsequently blamed for enacting pain. In my experience, when arthritis is found in the spine, it is almost always cited as a primary causation or partial contributor to back pain, even though there is absolutely no reason to see it as a malignant factor.
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In fact, doctors rarely inform diagnosed patients of the complete picture when it comes to osteoarthritis. Here are some lesser known facts that may surprise you if you have been diagnosed with spinal pain blamed on bone spurs, facet joint changes or vertebral degeneration common to arthritic processes:

  • Arthritis is found in almost every adult. Most people do not have pain, despite varying degrees of arthritic evidence. The degree of arthritic change has little or no bearing on whether a person may complain of pain or not. Many patients with minor arthritic change have severe pain, while some people with extreme conditions have no pain whatsoever.
  • Regardless of whether a condition actually causes pain or not, the typical treatments used for spinal arthritis will do nothing to resolve symptoms, if indeed they are caused by the condition treated. Physical therapy, chiropractic, pharmaceutical treatment, epidural injections and a host of others will not change spinal anatomy or do anything to resolve arthritic evidence.
  • Often symptoms are obviously affecting soft tissues, such as muscles or ligaments, or involve neurological tissues. This is not consistent with arthritis, although the diagnosis usually stands firm if structural evidence is found.

I hope to have provided a different view on arthritis in the spine and possibly provided the groundwork for affected patients to do more research on their own diagnoses. As a final thought, the only treatment typically effective at ridding the body of arthritic alteration is spinal surgery. Although the supposed structural reasons sourcing the pain can certainly be eliminated using invasive interventions, the facts show that back surgery is the least effective and most risky of all treatments possible. If arthritis was truly to blame for all the pain, then an objective observer would expect the exact opposite to occur.

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