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Managing Osteoarthritis - Part One

Managing Osteoarthritis

Even if they’ve never experienced it themselves, most people are familiar with the broad symptoms of arthritis – swollen and stiff joints, finding it difficult to move and the pain that can occur as a result. But although arthritis is often used as a blanket term for such symptoms, there are actually many different kinds of arthritis – more than 100 – some of which can have vastly differing causes, treatments and outcomes.

One of the most common forms is osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 1 in 4 Australians over age 65.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which causes cartilage – the flexible, rubbery material that acts as a cushion between joints in the body – to gradually break down.

(This differs from another common form of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis – in which the joints become inflamed as a result of a viral infection affecting the fluid in the joints, although they can present similar symptoms.)

Over time, this can result in the bones on either side of the cartilage broadening and thickening. If the cartilage continues to deteriorate, the bones grind against one another – all of which can result in restricted mobility and serious pain. Areas commonly affected include the knees, spine, hips and hands, though it can occur elsewhere on the body too.

The causes

Osteoarthritis has a number of causes, but two of the most common are joint overuse (which is particularly common among athletes) and injuries to the joint itself, which may damage the cartilage and lead to degeneration at a later date.

Obesity is also a strong contributing factor. On a per capita basis, Australia is currently one of the most overweight countries in the world, which means more people are at risk due to the pressure that excess weight can place on the joints and bones.

Additionally, while osteoarthritis (and arthritis in general) is not a direct result of getting older, aging increases the risk of developing the condition. Natural wear and tear on bones, joints and cartilage throughout life can all be contributing factors.

In Part Two, we take a look at some of the most common pain management techniques and treatments for osteoarthritis. Visit Panadol’s website for more information on Panadol Osteo – specially formulated to help provide long-lasting relief from persistent pain.



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Managing Osteoarthritis, Part Four

Though it's well known that osteoarthritis can cause decreased mobility and pain, its effect on sleep is often overlooked. The average adult requires 6-8 hours of sleep a night, but many people with osteoarthritis experience disrupted nights or poor quality sleep. In the short term, this can exacerbate the pain associated with the condition, and over a longer period it can lead to more serious problems such as anxiety and depression.

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Managing Osteoarthritis Part Three

In Part One and Part Two, we looked at the symptoms of osteoarthritis and some common forms of pain management. In this instalment, we look at the ways exercise can assist with managing osteoarthritis.

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Osteoarthritis and Sleep Hygiene

Osteoarthritis and Sleep Hygiene

Though it's well known that osteoarthritis can cause decreased mobility and pain, its effect on sleep is often overlooked. The average adult requires 6-8 hours of sleep a night, but many people with osteoarthritis experience disrupted nights or poor quality sleep. In the short term, this can exacerbate the pain associated with the condition, and over a longer period it can lead to more serious problems such as anxiety and depression.

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