What Factors Increase My Risk Of Developing Pain Associated With Osteoarthritis?

Dr. Doris K. Cope answers the question: 'Risk Factors For Osteoarthritis Pain?'

ByABC News
November 18, 2008, 11:32 AM

— -- Question: What Factors Increase My Risk Of Developing Pain Associated With Osteoarthritis?

Answer: You can consider your spine as the mast of a ship. The mast of a ship is held in an upright position because of the forestay and the backstay. If one becomes imbalanced, if you gain weight, particularly in your abdomen, and your back has pressure pulling it down, you will cause an irregularity of your spine and it will cause more pain.

In addition, if you're not careful in your body mechanics in how you bend, you will get more pain. If you lift things out with your arms extended, you'll pull on your back. This will cause undue stress.

Pain from arthritis is a natural consequence of aging. The majority of people over age 50 or 60 have some degree of arthritis. Extra weight puts stress on your knees, your hips, your ankles, your feet, and you will have pain from that.

Secondly, the thing to be concerned about as you age is everybody, as a normal consequence of age, has a greater body percent of fat, and a lesser body percent of water and muscle. Your discs have less water; they dry out, the cushioning between your vertebral bodies or between your spine spaces gets less and less and you'll notice you'll probably be shorter.

So being dehydrated, being deconditioned, having more fat than muscle which -- all of these things happen naturally, we have to fight them -- these are things that will make your pain worse.

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