▻ Ageing and incorrect or excessive repetitive motions can cause a degenerative joint disease known as osteoarthritis. Our smart-working and office habits are often forcing us either to conduct an increasingly sedentary life-style or to concentrate intense physical activities in a short window of time. Since hyaluronic acid is a key constituent of our joints’ natural shock absorber, its intake is extremely helpful in restoring the body’s biological building blocks.
What is osteoarthritis?
Commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) can be described as the gradual but cumulative breakdown of the articular cartilage, which acts as a joints’ biological shock absorber.
Joints in our body come naturally equipped with their biological shock absorber, the articular hyaline cartilage. In healthy joints, this rubbery structure cocoons the extremity of the bones so mechanical friction is reduced. When cartilage is damaged and bone starts to rub against bone, osteoarthritis emerges.
Causes and risk factors
Causes of degenerative joint disease are different. To begin with, as we age, our cartilages spontaneously become more vulnerable to wear and tear, deteriorate and progressively malfunction. Secondly, it’s safe to say that incorrect or extremely repetitive overuse of joints may stress and irritate the cartilage even before their commonly-expected “due date”. Lastly, genetic predisposition may be a factor.
On the one hand, like we just mentioned, the main risk factor of wear and tear arthritis is mostly out of our control: ageing. On the other one, some of the more foreseeable risk factors include sport activities and jobs that require repetitive motions and high rate of stress on specific joints. Our smart-working and office habits are forcing us either to conduct an increasingly sedentary life-style or to concentrate intense physical activities in a short window of time, such as when we go to the gym once or twice a week and we almost train to over-exertion. As a matter of fact, studies have found how the force applied across our knee joints may be up to 3 times our body weight while walking, six times while stair climbing and 10 times our body weight while jumping. This explains why concentrating highly intensive physical activities in a short window of time is much more stressful for our shock absorbers than having a moderately but constantly active life-style.
At last, one more not-to-be-underestimated risk factor is obesity, which OA has been positively correlated with. For the same reason we just discussed, the more weight hips and knees take upon themselves, in fact, the more our biological shock absorbers are subjected to an exponentially increased pressure.
Osteoarthritis usually is thus more common in the most weight-bearing and effort-making joints of the human body, such as knees, hips or spine, but fingers too. Still, injuries or overuse can give rise to OA in joints like elbows, wrists or ankles.
Evidence of this disease tends to emerge slowly and early stages are often painless. Symptoms like localised discomfort, reduced range of motion or soreness may be noticed when certain joints are moved or articular stiffness may appear after a prolonged physical inactivity, which in most cases lessens in less than an hour. Researches show a vast percentage of people over 60 manifest some degree of OA, still younger people can be affected.
The symptoms and their intensity manifest differently: sometimes even advanced stages are nearly painless, in other cases motion is severely impeded and even the simplest actions can become difficult. Not to be confused with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis alone does not affect other body’s organs or cause illness, but long-term complications may include deformities, limping and posture issues. Moreover, when the spine is affected and OA irritates the nerves, the patient may perceive numbness or tingling in some parts of the body.
Remedies and prevention
There is no definitive magic formula to make the wear and tear of joints disappear, but there are ways to improve most of conditions. Some of these solutions are physical and involve, for example, therapies to increase muscles’ strength and flexibility near the desired joints or supportive devices such as knee braces.
However, when osteoarthritis flares up, you may want to turn to biochemical solutions and one of the most effective is hyaluronic acid (HA). Hyaluronic acid is naturally synthesised by our body and it’s a key element of the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints, smoothing the articulation. As we age, the natural production of HA in our body progressively decreases.
For this reason, HA supplements like SinoHyal FG are particularly beneficial in order to alleviate pain and regenerate the building blocks of our biological shock absorbers. Even though HA used to be mainly injected in the knees, oral assumption is becoming more and more common because it delivers outstanding results in daily practice, while being safe, non-invasive and widely affordable.
Keeping our weight in check, practicing low-impact sports activities and trying to avoid repetitive motions are useful daily habits for long-term prevention of degenerative arthritis. Still, if the condition worsens, it’s paramount to bear in mind that solutions do exist and improvements are possible. Among these, hyaluronic acid supplements are among the most effective and affordable of those currently available; a safe, non-invasive and natural solution for truly helping affected people to conduct a normal life.