You know that slight pain you feel in your knee, or your hips or your hands? There’s a good chance that is arthritis.
Called osteoarthritis by physicians, it’s a disease that affects nearly 5 million Canadians, and with a new diagnosis every 60 seconds, those numbers are increasing.
One of the biggest risk factors of osteoarthritis is excess weight. Extra pounds put extra stress on joints, and this can speed up the deterioration of joint cartilage. Many cases of osteoarthritis are also brought on by occupational risks. Jobs that involve repetitive motion, such as kneeling or lifting, can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
Low-impact exercise is an excellent way to improve joint health. Activities such as strength training, stretching and swimming can help prevent or slow down osteoarthritis.
Classically, anti-inflammatory medication in the form of pills or gels applied directly to a joint have been the mainstay of treatment. A cortisone injection into the joint was reserved for more painful cases of arthritis.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a more novel and cutting-edge arthritis treatment. It first attracted attention when Tiger Woods used it to improve his knee joints and tennis elbow about 15 years ago.
PRP therapy involves harnessing the healing power of your own blood by concentrating platelets and growth factors into a syringe and then injecting it back into the body. This has been shown to help heal and rejuvenate the tissue that is exposed to the plasma concentration. In the case of arthritis, PRP affects the joint cartilage that is being eroded and little bits of exposed bone.
If you’re feeling pain in your joints, seek the advice of a well-versed healthcare provider who can discuss which options are right for you.
Dr. Nathan Thakur