Osteoarthritis is most common form of Arthritis, also called Degenerative Joint disease or Disease of Joints in which the Cartilage and the underlying Bones break down over a period of time, means the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones gradually loses its elasticity and wears away(often called wear-and-tear arthritis) and without the protective cartilage, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing Stiffness, Inflammation, and loss of movement.
It can occur in any of the body’s joints but most often develops in the Hands and weight-bearing joints, including the Knees, Hips, and Spine (usually in the neck or lower back).
[Note -The condition is prevalent more in older people, aged 60 and above. Women are slightly more prone to develop Osteoarthritis than men. People who have Osteoarthritis will suffer pain from time to time, with the pain said to be at its highest when they wake up in the morning.]
Current conventional medical treatments focus on pain reduction and control of inflammation; however, these approaches have no effect on the natural course of the disease. side effects of these treatments can be quite significant, and at times life-threatening. Often times, the ultimate treatment for a disabling joint is joint replacement, with the inherent risks and cost that come with surgery.
In Osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, small deposits of bone, called Osteophytes or Bone Spurs which may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.
Like we said above, Osteoarthritis has often been referred to as a "Wear and Tear" Disease, but besides the breakdown of cartilage, Osteoarthritis affects the entire joint. It causes changes in the bone and deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attach muscle to bone. It also causes inflammation of the joint lining.
A variety of causes—Hereditary, Developmental, Metabolic, and Mechanical may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage.
There are two distinct types of Osteoarthritis –
Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis, the main difference is the cause behind the joint symptoms. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints.
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time.
In Ayurveda literature, Osteoarthritis occurs due to aggravation of ‘Vata Dosha’ and is known as “Sandhivata”.