How to Get Rid of Osteonecrosis

It is common knowledge that people right from their mid-30s to their 60s are more prone to suffer from pain in their hips, lower back, and various joints in the body. This pain can vary from person to person. For some, it may just be a slight annoyance, but for others, it can be debilitating. It can even limit physical activity for some people, which ends up aggravating the pain even further. Most of the time, the primary cause of this pain is due to a highly inactive lifestyle. While this can be managed and rectified to a large extent, there can be certain other medical conditions and reasons for this never-ending chronic pain. One such condition is osteonecrosis. This is a rather serious disease which has to be treated properly and on time to avoid potential health risks. In this article, you will learn all about osteonecrosis, its causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options.    

​What Is Osteonecrosis? 

Also known as aseptic necrosis, avascular necrosis, and ischemic necrosis, osteonecrosis is a disease that affects the bones in your body. The bones in our body are living tissues that have their own blood vessels and cells. Therefore, constant blood supply to the bones is necessary in order to keep the tissue living and functioning properly. Osteonecrosis causes partial to complete loss in the flow of blood to the bones, thereby depriving them of blood supply, causing them to die. If left untreated, the disease can eventually collapse the entire bone and the joints surrounding that bone. While the disease can develop in any bone, it is most commonly observed in the hips, upper arm, femur, knees, shoulders, and ankles. There have also been cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw, which can result in ulcers in the gums and expose the jaw bone, leading to excruciating pain.

Causes of Osteonecrosis

The risk of the condition developing in people who are generally healthy are slim. In mosr cases, it occurs due to an underlying health issue or trauma. Some of the major causes of osteonecrosis are explained below

Trauma to the Bone

Excessive Consumption of Alcohol

Decompression Sickness

How Is Osteonecrosis Diagnosed?

Accurately diagnosing a disease is the first step of treatment. Failing to diagnose a disease on time can often have dire consequences. Certain diseases like osteonecrosis are hard to precisely diagnose as they have a lot in common with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Although it is hard, it is not impossible. If you or your doctor suspect that you have this disease, some of the things that can be done to diagnose its existence are explained below.

Medical History

Physical Test  

Medical Imaging Tests  

Signs and Symptoms

Unfortunately, this medical condition is one of the many diseases of the human body that usually does not show any signs or symptoms in its early stages. The disease only causes pain as it slowly progresses through the body. Typically, you first experience pain in the joint or in the bone only when you put weight or pressure on it. As time goes by, you might feel pain even when you are resting. When the disease develops further, the entire bone or the joint collapses completely, accompanied by severe pain and the inability to use the bone or joint. Severe osteonecrosis of the hip can even rob you of the ability to walk. On an average, the disease takes around several months to a year to progress from the time the first symptoms appear to total bone collapse. 

How to Get Rid of Osteonecrosis

The method of treatment of osteonecrosis is dependent on the age, the progression of the disease, and the cause of the disease. The condition is irreversible, therefore, all that you can do is protect the other bones and joints, stop the disease from causing further damage, and improve the range of motion and the use of the affected bone or joint. Depending on the above factors, your doctor might suggest either a surgical or non-surgical treatment option.    

Non-Surgical Treatment​ Options

These treatment options can help manage the disease to a large extent but do nothing to help cure the condition. This makes them the ideal option for people who are in the early stages of the condition. Some of the options that your doctor might suggest are elaborated below.

Medications

Other Treatments

Surgical Treatment Options

The above treatments are only temporary and can only slow the progression of the disease. Most people with this condition almost always need surgical intervention as it worsens. Some of the surgical options that your doctor may prescribe are explained below.

Bone Grafts

Total Joint Replacement

Osteotomy      

Core Decompression

Conclusion

The first step to preventing osteonecrosis is to cut down on alcohol intake and smoking. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is really important as most of the health conditions and diseases arise due to a pattern of unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle choices. Also, if you’re a user of corticosteroids for managing other health conditions such as asthma, get in touch with your doctor to come up with alternative therapies that can help manage your symptoms. Do not panic or worry if you develop osteonecrosis in spite of living a healthy lifestyle. There are tons of treatment options and techniques to help manage and even get rid of the disease.

Featured Image:  Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay