Osteoarthritis: Unraveling Symptoms, Causes, and Holistic Treatments for Lasting Relief

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Osteoarthritis: The leading cause of joint pain

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of joint pain, affecting millions of people worldwide. It primarily targets the body’s weight-bearing joints, such as the knee, hip and ankle joints and also involves small joints of the hand and feet. It is characterised by significant joint pain and reduced immobility due to stiffness.

Osteoarthritis is one of the challenging orthopaedic conditions that affect your life badly. ANF Therapy®️ is a revolutionary treatment approach that can effectively treat osteoarthritis from its root cause and provides faster and long-lasting results. 

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is derived from two Greek words, “osteo”, meaning bone and “arthritis”, referred to as joint inflammation.  It is a degenerative joint disease that damages joint cartilage and underlying bone.  

Healthy joints are covered with cartilage that ensures smooth bone movement and minimises friction between each other. However, in cases of osteoarthritis, this cartilage deteriorates, becoming thinner and rougher. This degeneration restricts joint movement and can lead to significant discomfort and mobility issues. 

About 3.3 to 3.6% of the population globally have osteoarthritis. It is considered the fourth leading cause of disability in the world. The incidence of osteoarthritis increases with ageing. In the United States of America (USA), about 80% of the population has osteoarthritis, based on radiological evidence, by the age of 65. 

Types of osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis comes in two primary forms, each with its own story of onset and progression:

1-Primary Osteoarthritis:

This is the most prevalent type, occurring without prior injury or underlying disease. It often emerges simply due to the natural wear and tear of the joints over time. It is usually linked to ageing. 

2-Secondary Osteoarthritis:

Unlike primary osteoarthritis, secondary osteoarthritis has a clear triggering factor—it develops following a specific incident, such as a joint injury or joint-related disease. This type highlights the long-term impact of initial joint damage, potentially leading to significant joint changes and discomfort years after the initial damage. 

Stages of osteoarthritis:

There are four stages of osteoarthritis. These include:

Stage 0:

Stage 0, or pre-osteoarthritis, is the phase where your joints display no signs of osteoarthritis — there is no joint pain, stiffness, or loss of function. The joints are fully healthy, with intact cartilage and no visible signs of wear and inflammation. 

Stage 1:

At this early stage, you may experience mild pain during joint activity or after a long day of use. It’s often the first noticeable sign that something is changing within your joint. During Stage 1 osteoarthritis, there is slight damage to the cartilage—the cushioning material between bones—which can begin to degrade. Although the damage is not extensive, even small changes in the cartilage can start to affect how your joints feel and function. 

Additionally, this stage may include the development of minor bone spurs. These are small outgrowths or projections that form along the edges of bones within the joint. Bone spurs can be a natural response to increased friction and stress in the joint as the body tries to repair itself.

Stage 2:

In this stage, the bone spur becomes painful and induces inflammatory changes in your joint. 

Stage 3:

At this point, the cartilage cushioning your joints begins to wear down significantly. This leads to a narrowing of your joint space, which can restrict movement and cause pain, affecting your daily activities.

Stage 4:

It is a severe form of osteoarthritis in which your joint space is much smaller and has less synovial fluid.  It is characterised by severe joint pain with reduced joint mobility.

How does osteoarthritis develop?

Osteoarthritis, as described by Dr. Mikel H-G Hoff, is the most prevalent bone disorder nowadays. It most commonly involves your knee joint, with symptoms lasting from morning to night. The cartilage in your joints acts as a protective cushion that allows smooth, pain-free movement. This vital organ is a static support and a dynamic, living structure crucial for bone health. 

The development of osteoarthritis begins when this cartilage is damaged, which can result from a shortage of critical resources needed for producing enzymes and minerals that maintain bone structure. When your body falls short of supplying these essential nutrients, cartilage regeneration slows down, leading to its breakdown. As the cartilage wears away, the bones may begin to rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and reduced mobility, characteristic of osteoarthritis. It’s like a machine running out of oil; without sufficient lubrication and care, the wear and tear increases, leading to breakdowns. 

Risk factors of osteoarthritis:

Some factors increase your risk of getting osteoarthritis. These factors include:

Age:

Age is the common risk factor for osteoarthritis. As you become older, your joints and their tissues start degenerating, which results in joint inflammation called osteoarthritis.

Sex:

It usually targets females more than males.

Obesity:

If you are obese, you are making yourself prone to osteoarthritis. Obesity puts stress on your weight-bearing joints. Moreover, extra fat in your body produces inflammatory substances that induce inflammation in your joints. 

Genetics:

Mutations in some genes that are involved in cartilage formation increase your risk of getting osteoarthritis. 

Joint injuries:

Joint injuries during playing or by trauma can increase your risk of getting osteoarthritis. Joint injuries limit your range of motion, resulting in osteoarthritis. 

Anatomical factors:

If you have any bony deformity that can be congenital or acquired, then you might have a greater risk of getting osteoarthritis. 

Previous joint surgery:

Previous joint surgery can also increase the risk of osteoarthritis because surgery alters your joint mobility and produces an inflammatory response. 

Muscle weakness:

Muscles and ligaments are the supporting structures of your bones. Suppose your muscle ligaments are weakened due to trauma or any other illness. It might increase your risk of osteoarthritis. 

Metabolic disorders:

Some metabolic disorders also contribute to causing osteoarthritis, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Low nutrition diet:

A healthy, nutritious diet is super important for your bone health. A low-nutrition diet impacts your bone health, resulting in cartilage damage. 

Occupational hazard:

Occupational hazards can significantly impact your joint health, especially when your job involves repetitive movements. Imagine performing the same task day after day—whether it’s typing, operating machinery, or even standing for long periods. These repeated activities can strain your joints, gradually wearing down the cartilage that cushions them. This constant pressure and wear can lead to osteoarthritis, turning simple daily tasks into sources of discomfort and pain. 

Clinical Presentation of Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis affects multiple joints, including weight-bearing joints such as the hip joint, knee joint and ankle. Moreover, it also affects small joints of the hands and feet that usually involve proximal and distal interphalangeal joints, first carpometacarpal joints, and metatarsophalangeal joints. The clinical presentation of osteoarthritis depends upon the type of joint involved and the severity of the disease and affects each individual directly. 

  • Joint pain that worsens with activity and resolves on taking rest 
  • Joint stiffness 
  • Reduced mobility of the affected joint 
  • Crackling sensation during movement of your joint 
  • Bony swelling or outgrowth (osteophyte) that sometimes felt like a hard lump around the joint 
  • Morning stiffness that lasts for less than 30 minutes 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Balance problems 
  • Cervicalgia 

How do ANF Therapists diagnose osteoarthritis?

History:

ANF Therapy®️ begins with a comprehensive approach to diagnosing osteoarthritis. Your ANF Therapist will start the treatment by taking a detailed history to understand the progression and symptoms of your condition. History includes the following points: 

  • Your biodata 
  • Your weight
  • Aggravating or relieving factors 
  • History of previous medical illness 
  • Medication history 
  • Occupational history 
Physical examination:

Following the history, your ANF Therapist will conduct a thorough physical examination. This examination is pivotal in assessing the affected joints for tenderness, swelling, reduced mobility, and other signs of osteoarthritis. It includes: 

Joint Inspection: 

This step involves the assessment of swelling and joint deformity.

Palpation and Movement:

Your ANF Therapist will palpate the joint for crepitus, assessing a range of motion.  It will perform clinical tests and perform palpation using a technique called clinical surgery with the help of fingers. This way, it will assess the severity of inflammation and identify inflamed nerves where ANF Devices will be targeted. 

How does ANF Therapy®️help in treating osteoarthritis?

ANF Therapy ®️ is a holistic approach to treating osteoarthritis. This Wearable ANF Devices are applied to the affected area to achieve the desired results. 

Applications of devices:

According to Dr Mikel H-G Hoff, the innovative application of ANF Devices offers a promising solution for osteoarthritis patients. These specialised devices come in various forms. 

One type is the ANF Anti-inflammatory Devices, which are strategically placed over the affected joint. These devices target and reduce inflammation in the blood and lymphatic systems, directly alleviating pain and swelling. Moreover, ANF protocol involves ANF Antioxidant Devices, designed to combat the free radicals in your body that can damage joints and degrade cartilage. By neutralising these harmful molecules, these devices help to halt further joint damage and foster the regeneration of bone tissue.

Expected outcome:

Dr. Hoff highlights the effectiveness of this treatment, noting that about 80% of patients experience a significant reduction in pain after using these ANF Devices. This high success rate underscores the potential of ANF Therapy®️ to not only ease symptoms but also enhance the overall quality of life for osteoarthritis patients. 

Start Your Journey with ANF Therapy®️ Today!

If you are a patient suffering from osteoarthritis or your loved one is suffering from this problem, start your treatment with ANF Therapy®️  today! Consult a nearby ANF therapist or find an ANF Therapist near you at www.finfanf.com to start ANF treatment for osteoarthritis. 

If you are a healthcare professional aiming to enhance your clinical practice, learn more about ANF courses and Clinical Education programs at www.anfacademy.com  

Preventive measures for osteoarthritis:

You can reduce the risk of getting osteoarthritis and its progression by adopting some preventive measures. These preventive measures include lifestyle modifications: 

  • Maintain your body mass index (BMI) 
  • Control your blood sugar 
  • Physiotherapy exercise daily 
  • Avoid stress 
  • Do not overstress your joints 
  • Stop smoking 
  • A healthy diet plan that makes your joints strong 

What are the complications of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can cause complications that may affect your daily lifestyle if unaddressed. These complications include: 

  • Severe joint pain 
  • Joint deformity 
  • Decrease in joint range of motion
  • Joint immobility (ankylosis)
  • Sleep disturbance 
  • Frequent falls 

FAQs:

What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (rheumatoid arthritis vs osteoarthritis)?

Osteoarthritis is usually caused by mechanical wear and tear and usually affects weight-bearing joints of your body, such as the knee and hip joints. It has an asymmetrical distribution. The morning joint stiffness is less than 30 minutes and involves DIP. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s cells start targeting your normal body cells, resulting in inflammation and joint damage. It has a symmetrical distribution and usually affects the small joints of your body, including MCP and PIP (rather than DIP). In rheumatoid arthritis, the morning stiffness is more than 30 minutes. 

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (osteoarthritis vs osteoporosis)?

Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis: Osteoarthritis is a joint disease where the cartilage breaks down, causing pain and limiting mobility. In contrast, osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones by reducing bone mass, increasing the risk of fractures and bone pain. 

What is the end stage of osteoarthritis?

As discussed above, stage 4 of osteoarthritis is the end stage, in which your joint space is significantly reduced, resulting in severe joint pain and reduced mobility. 

What food causes joint pain?

Some foods are linked to causing joint pain. The most common are: 

  • Alcohol 
  • Sugar 
  • Red meat 
  • Saturated fatty acids 
  • Gluten diet 
How does osteoarthritis affect my daily life?

Osteoarthritis affects your daily lifestyle by impeding your joint mobility and causing severe pain even at rest, making you unable to live pain-free.

Is osteoarthritis relieved by rest?

In the early stages of osteoarthritis, rest will help in relieving pain. However, in an advanced stage of osteoarthritis, even rest can’t help alleviate your symptoms.

What worsens the pain of osteoarthritis?

Injury or trauma to your joint can worsen the ongoing symptoms of osteoarthritis by increasing inflammatory response.

Is osteoarthritis reversible?

No, the damage to your joint can’t be reversed. However, the symptoms and underlying causes can be managed to avoid disease progression. ANF Therapy ®️ can effectively manage osteoarthritis with the help of ANF Devices that reduce pain and inflammation by activating the body’s natural healing process.

About ANF Therapy®️

ANF Therapy®️ uses circular ANF Devices, which are applied directly on the skin after palpation and assessment by a trained ANF Therapist following the ANF Therapy®️ Method, Patented Model no. U202030252, ES1259974.

The ANF Therapy®️ purpose is the alleviation of injury and pain within minutes.

Our aim is that the patient experiences a reduction of pain and swelling, an increase in range of motion, and an improvement in quality of life related to health. Non-transdermal, non-invasive device, NO needles or chemicals are used.

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