Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Osteoarthritis treatment, Singapore
WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with around 20% of people above the age of 60 suffering from it. It is a long term condition where inflammation causes the cartilage in the joints gradually degenerate and become destroyed. Essentially, it is a condition of “wear and tear”, and can cause stiffness as well as pain in various joints, mainly in the shoulders, knees, hands, hip and spine. Unfortunately, the damage to the joints cannot be cured or reversed, however you can receive treatment to alleviate the pain and prevent the worsening of your condition.
Old age, obesity, injury to joints are all common causes of osteoarthritis. There may also be a genetic basis for osteoarthritis. Those who participate in high impact sports are also at high risk for having osteoarthritis. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness/loss of flexibility, tenderness, popping or cracking of joints, swelling and bone spurs (hard lumps around the joint)
There are a few ways for your healthcare provider to decide whether you have osteoarthritis and to determine whether you need osteoarthritis treatment, Singapore.
- Physical Examination: during the physical examination, your doctor will check for swelling, tenderness, and range of motion of your joints, weakness of the muscles around the joint as well as for the other symptoms mentioned earlier. Joint instability and joint deformity are also things your doctor will look out for, especially since these indicate advanced osteoarthritis.
- Imaging: this is used to obtain visual pictures of your joints, so that your doctor can understand the extent of the cartilage degeneration.
- MRI: magnetic resonance imaging technology enables you to have a radiation-free scan that provides a detailed picture of your joint, the soft tissue surrounding it and the cartilage. Although you do not need to have an MRI scan to diagnose osteoarthritis, the images obtained help your doctor to have a better understanding of your condition, especially in more complex cases.
- X rays: X-ray scans provide clear images of your bones, however the cartilage will not show up on the image. Instead your doctor will deduce the situation based on the space between the 2 bones at the joint. Joint space narrowing is an indication of osteoarthritis.
- Lab tests: These are simply to confirm your diagnosis, and are not standalone diagnostic techniques.
- Blood tests: This allows doctors to rule out other causes of similar symptoms, like rheumatoid arthritis 
- Joint/Synovial fluid analysis: fluid from the affected joint will be drawn, and tests will be conducted on it based on its appearance, chemical properties and microscopic composition. This helps doctors to check whether your pain is caused by gout or infection
TYPES OF OSTEOARTHRITIS TREATMENT
Singapore orthopaedic clinics will be able to provide you with treatment for osteoarthritis treatment. Listed below are some of the established ways to treat early osteoarthritis.
- Artery embolisation: Genicular and shoulder artery embolisation are conducted for knee and shoulder joint osteoarthritis respectively. This is a minimally-invasive procedure where a catheter is used to inject spherical particles into certain arteries, blocking the blood flow to the parts of the joint that are causing you pain.
- Nerve ablation: Similarly to artery embolisation, there is genicular and scapular (shoulder blade) nerve ablation. During this procedure, radiofrequency waves are applied to specific affected nerves in the joint, to heat up the nerve and inhibit them from sending out pain signals. As a result, your brain no longer registers the pain and you should experience significant relief from the discomfort after the procedure.
- Joint injection of Autologous Protein Solution (APS): An N-Stride injection consists of APS, where blood is extracted from your own body, containing proteins responsible for healing and for anti-inflammation. Inflammatory proteins are the cause of the pain in osteoarthritis, so the high concentration of anti-inflammatory cytokines and anabolic proteins in N-Stride helps to prevent further degeneration of the cartilage at the joint. 
Blood is first drawn from your arm and processed, then it is separated to remove red blood cells and white blood cells so that concentrated plasma (part of blood containing proteins) is obtained. This is then reinjected into the joint. The whole process should take around 20 to 30 minutes to be completed. This treatment method can relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis, reducing the pain by 70%, for up to 3 years.
Always remember to consult a medical professional about your condition, and avoid self-diagnosis based on what you have read. Especially when the symptoms of osteoarthritis begin affecting your quality of life, you should consider receiving treatment for it. If you are looking for a clinic that offers osteoarthritis treatment, Singapore The Orthopaedic & Pain Practice is here for you! Book an appointment today, with any of the details below:
6694 6270 (Call)
[email protected] (Email)
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