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Osteoarthritis of Hips & Lower Back


Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as arthrosis or degenerative joint disease, is a disease featuring pain and impaired function of the joints. It is the most common form of arthritis. While inflammation contributes to the disease process, the main cause is "wear and tear" to the synovium (joint lining). Treatment is with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), local injections with glucocorticoids and with joint replacement surgery. There is no known cure for osteoarthritis. 

The main symptoms are pain and restricted movement. The pain is chronic pain or gives varying amounts of discomfort when standing and walking. Pain is generally described as aching, sharp, or a burning sensation in the associated muscles and tendons, and includes loss of mobility and often stiffness. Humid weather increases the pain in many patients. Patients can experience muscle spasm and contractions in the tendons. Osteoarthritis can cause a crackling noise (called crepitus) when moved or palpated. Occasionally, affected joints may fill with fluid. Some develop Heberden's nodes in the fingers when these are affected.

I came down with osteoarthritis of the hips and low back at the age of 37 after 25 years of surfing almost everyday. There was a day in April of '99 when I could no longer sit in the water with my legs over my board. I became aware of increasing pain, and a steady lack of flexibility. As the year went on I struggled with my surfing and the pain became chronic and very difficult to deal with on a daily basis.

When a person's flexibility is taken away and replaced with constant pain things tend to deteriorate. My marriage fell apart, my business began to suffer, and my mood was really foul most of the time.

Finally in the summer of '01 after a Doctor had offered me the option of double hip replacement with the proviso that I could never surf again, and that I'd be back with ten years for another major surgery, or two (one for each hip), I decided to try Bikram Yoga...My practice was spotty at first (maybe twice a week), but as I began to feel some progress and free myself from the pain cycle, I started to practice nearly everyday doing doubles and triples on those days where I had the time and energy to push myself (Michael Garrett my teacher, was always encouraging us to push the limits of our practice...)

The progress is slow but I'm sure the arthritis is no longer progressive and one day I look forward to surfing again. I plan on attending the teacher training for the spring of '03, ultimately to help others free themselves from pain and to share the health benifits with anyone willing to listen to my dialog of Bikram Yoga.



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