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Comprehensive Approach Towards Joints And Related Parts

Movement of body is necessary to perform any give task. The organ system which takes care of the movement of the body is known as musculoskeletal system. It is an organ system which gives humans the ability to move using muscular and skeletal systems. In addition to the movement, this system also provides form, support and stability to the body. Almost all the movement of the body is possible due to muscle contraction. Exceptions to this are the action of cilia, amoeboid movement of some white blood cells.

Skeleton and Muscular System

Skeleton is that part of the body which gives the structure to the human beings whereas the muscular system is an organ system which consists of skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles. It also helps in maintaining the posture of the body and assists in blood circulation throughout the body. Both of these systems come under musculoskeletal system. It is made up of the bones of skeleton, muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, tendons, joints that binds tissues and organs together.

This system also describes in detail how bones are connected to the other bones and muscle fibers. This is done via connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons. Bones are kept in place with the help of muscles and they also play a major role in the movement of the bones. These bones are connected by joints which allow the motion of the body. There is cartilage too which prevents the bone ends from rubbing directly onto each other.

Orthopedics

When it comes to our musculoskeletal system, then there are certain diseases and disorders which affect the normal functioning of this system. These diseases are hard to diagnose as they are in close relation to other internal systems. In most of the cases, they are accompanied with pain and the only solution is to opt for surgery. The branch of medicine which deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the conditions of musculoskeletal system is known as orthopedics. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical as well as non surgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, congenital diseases, infections, tumors, sports injuries and degenerative diseases etc.

Joint Pain

A joint is an area in the body at which two bone ends meet so that the motion of the particular body part is possible. Joint pain is caused by any injury or disease which affects ligaments, bursae or tendons surrounding the joint. Ligaments attach bone to bone around all the joints whereas tendons attach muscle to bone around the joint. The gliding surface to the tendons is provided by bursae which are fluid filled sacs. No matter which joint is affected, pain is a common factor in all of them. Joint pain is also referred to as arthalgia.

Causes of Joint Pain

There are different health conditions which brings along pain with them. Joint pain is usually associated with increasing age but it isn’t exclusive to the elderly. Some of the common reasons are explained below – 

1. Injury is the most common cause of joint pain and can be experienced at any age. It is inevitable for your body not to suffer from injury at one or other point of life. Injuries which are particular to the joints can result from sports injuries, falls or simple accidents in which unnatural force is exerted to our joints. Ligaments which hold these bones together are the most common structures which are damaged. 

2. Osteoarthritis is that type of arthritis which severely affects our joints. It is commonly referred to as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis and is a degenerative joint disease. This problem is seen with older people and starts with one or two joints. Hip and knee joints which have large weight bearing joints are the first ones to become painful. 

3. Rheumatoid arthritis is another form of arthritis which affects the working of our joints. It is different to osteoarthritis and this people at relatively younger age can also suffer from this problem. It is described as an autoimmune illness in which the body’s immune system attacks invading organisms such as bacteria and virus.

4. Gout is a metabolic disorder and is another form of arthritis which is characterized by severe pain, redness and tenderness in joints. In this condition, uric acid crystals precipitate out of the blood and tend to settle in joints and other tissues. The first body parts which get affected due to this problem are the joints of the big toes.

5. Some of the other causes of joint pain may be rare and seen by very less number of patients. These include joint infections, lyme disease, gonorrhea, tumors of bone, allergic reaction to medication, autoimmune illness, excessive intake of vitamin A etc.

Symptoms of Joint Damage

When there is joint pain, there are different symptoms which are experienced by the patient. It is important to identify the symptoms as then only, there can be early and proper diagnosis. The extent of the damage will be known then only. Some of the symptoms are –

Pain is the first sign that is felt when there is any damage in the joint. This is also accompanied with swelling.

Joints become stiff for no particular reason which surely means that there is something wrong with the joints.

In some of the cases, there is recurring pain in the joints which should be immediately looked upon.

When our joint gets damaged, there is a feeling of bone rubbing on top of another bone and a professional should be immediately looked upon.

Bursitis is common condition which occurs in joint damage. There is inflammation of cushioning pads around the joints.

Lupus joint pain should be immediately identified. In this condition, pain tends to occur in both sides of the body and that too at the same time particularly in the joints of the wrists, fingers and knees.

Conservative Treatment Approach for Joint Pain

Epsom salts – the most conventional and simple solution for joint pain is to opt for a relaxing bath with the help of Epsom salt. These salts are high in magnesium and sulfates and are easily absorbed through the skin to provide quick relief as they lower inflammation and relax the tensed areas.

Hot and cold packs – hot and cold pack treatment is a homely procedure which is used to provide immediate relief. A hot therapeutic gel pack is applied to the affected area for twenty minutes and immediately replaced with a cold pack. The affected area should be elevated to reduce fluid retention.

Movement of joint and exercise – joint pain can also occur in the body due to inactivity or the residing pain can get worsen. Regular exercise can help strengthen the affected joints and muscles improving circulation. Your body will be active and able to deal with pain better and body weight will also be controlled.

Diet modifications – changing and eating healthy food will help in preventing pain in long run. Joint and bone pain caused by inflammation and swelling is going to decrease by implementing an anti-inflammatory diet. Processed food, trans-fats and added sugars should be limited and omega-3 fatty acids should be encouraged.

Supplements – protein helps in building joints and keeps connective tissues strong. In particular, collagen is the protein which does this job. It contains 19 different amino acids, the building blocks of proteins which is essential for both mental and physical health. Some of the main dietary sources of collagen include food products that are high in protein such as soyabean, pulses, egg shell membrane etc.

Surgical Treatment of Joint Pain

Total Knee Replacement 

Our knee has weight bearing surfaces which help in its movement. The surgical treatment of replacing these weight bearing surfaces with the help of an artificial material is known as total knee replacement. This surgery is a solution for patients with severe destruction of the knee joint with progressive pain and impaired function.

Before starting this surgery, there is complete evaluation of the joints adjacent to the diseased knee. Routine blood tests of liver and kidney function are done for signs of anemia, infection and abnormal metabolism. Knee is replaced with the help of arthroscopy which is a minimally invasive procedure. Small incision is made and an endoscope is inserted which performs the required process.

Total Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint is surgically replaced with artificial materials. The normal hip joint is a ball and socket joint. This replacement surgery involves replacement of the diseased ball and socket joint and replacing them with a metal and ceramic ball which is inserted into the femur bone.

It is suitable for patients with chronic pain which occurs due to severe hip arthritis. The most common type of arthritis related to hip pain is osteoarthritis. Other conditions include hip joint fracture, rheumatoid arthritis etc. In this procedure, anesthesia is given so that the muscles are relaxed. The damaged cartilage is removed from the body by making a cut along the side of the hip and then the new implant is attached to the bone.  The incision is closed after the muscle reattached.

Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement is not as common as hip and knee replacement but it is as successful in getting rid of joint pain. Shoulder replacement surgery is provided to replace the damaged part of the upper arm with the help of a metal prosthesis. This type of surgery is used to treat sever shoulder fractures and some forms of arthritis. The replacement of shoulder may include either just the head of the humerus bone or replacement of both the ball and the socket.

The holding material is used so that the artificial implant holds on the joint. There is another type of shoulder replacement called reverse total shoulder replacement which is used for people who have completely torn rotator cuffs with severe arm weakness or had a previous failed shoulder replacement.

Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure which is used by orthopedic surgeons to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint. The treatment is provided with the help of an arthroscope. It is basically an endoscope that is inserted into the joint with the help of a small incision. It has a lot of advantages over a traditional open surgery. There is no need of joints to be opened fully.

Only two small incisions are made. One is for the arthroscope and the other is for the surgical instruments to be used in the cavity of the knee. In this procedure, a small incision is made in the patient’s skin and then inserts pencil sized instruments that has a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. The surgeon is able to see the inside of the joint as the arthroscope is attached to a miniature television camera.

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