Aging can be tough, and aging when you have a chronic disease or disorder like fibromyalgia can make it even tougher on you. There are lots of things that we can do in order to fend off the issues related to fibromyalgia, but what happens when other signs of aging start to complicate matters even more?
One aging issue that frequently makes fibromyalgia worse is osteoarthritis. What is this disease, and how is it connected with fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and the pain we deal with? That’s what we’re going to look at here today.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are two totally different things, but a lot of people mix them up because they share prefixes. The prefix “osteo” means bone. Osteoporosis is the process where bones become brittle and break very easily.
Whereas, osteoarthritis affects the cartilage in your joints, wearing it down and causing the bones in your joint to rub together. This makes it hard for you to move around and it can make it really uncomfortable if you’re looking to be active in any way.
The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the weather can play a huge role as to the severity of the pain that you are dealing with.
Why does osteoarthritis happen? First off, you could end up having an injury that makes it difficult for your joints to heal properly. As time goes on, the cartilage starts to break down and the joint grinds up against itself. Being obese or having a lot of strain on certain joints can also add to the pain and stress that osteoarthritis has on your body.
Other diseases can also end up causing osteoarthritis, including diabetes and fibromyalgia. And, of course, the number one reason that people end up getting osteoarthritis is because they are aging. Our bodies are wearing down as we age, and because of that, we’re going to start to lose cartilage and our joints are going to start to suffer.
The cause of your osteoarthritis is going to vary depending on a lot of factors, but it’s just as painful, whatever is going on in there and no matter why you started to see the effects of osteoarthritis in the first place.
Osteoarthritis can pretty much happen anywhere in the body. But, many times, you will hear about it in certain areas. The most common areas for osteoarthritis pain to occur are in your hips, your knees, your extremities (feet and hands), and your back, specifically in the area around your spine and neck.
These areas are used a lot and they are the areas that are most prone to injuries, so it’s not odd that they end up getting the brunt of the impact when it comes to osteoarthritis. Other areas of the body can also deal with osteoarthritis, but it’s most common in the areas that we listed above.
How are Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia Linked?
It’s estimated that about one-fifth (1/5) of the people who have osteoarthritis also suffer from fibromyalgia, and it’s really not that odd. People with fibromyalgia are more apt to have poor posture and they are more likely to try and overcompensate in order to try and reduce their pain, thus causing more injuries, more often.
It is also common in fibromyalgia patients because, many times, patients try to minimize the amount of motion that they are doing on a daily basis in order to avoid pain. Because of this, their joints will get stiff, or they will gain a lot of weight, both of which are huge risk factors when it comes to the development of osteoarthritis.
Sometimes, it’s hard to notice that you have osteoarthritis when you’re already dealing with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Since both of them deal with stiffness, joint pain, and fatigue, you may just look at the changes in your body as a case where you’re having a flare up.
The truth of the matter is, yes, you may be having a flare up, but the flare up may be occurring because of the osteoarthritis. Remember, pain from other disorders can cause your fibromyalgia to flare up, and osteoarthritis is no exception to that rule at all.
Instead, you want to make sure that you are watching your symptoms and, if they seem to get worse at any point, you want to talk to your doctor and take care of the problem quickly. They may find something that you didn’t realize that you had going on in your body.
Like fibromyalgia, there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, but there are lots of things that you can do in order to treat it. Many times, the treatments for the two overlap, so your doctor will likely emphasis certain things in order to make sure that you get the care that you need and you find relief from your pain.
One of the most important things you can do, however, is control your weight. Obesity can cause your osteoarthritis to become worse, and it can cause you to have more pain from your fibromyalgia, so if you keep at a healthy weight, you can kill two birds with one stone.
You can also get other types of treatment, including physical therapy, exercise, holistic treatments, prescription medications, and more. Your doctor can help you determine what treatment plan is going to be right for your particular combination of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms.
Many people who have fibromyalgia just believe that they are going to have to cope with the problems that end up occurring alongside of it. That being said, there are lots of ways to prevent the issues related to aging. If you’re concerned about your fibromyalgia treatment and how it is connected to osteoarthritis, talk to your specialist for more information. Everyone’s fibromyalgia symptoms are a bit different, so it’s important that we better understand how to treat our issues in relation to how we react to treatment.