Osteonecrosis is a condition that causes the death of bone cells. It is also referred to as avascular necrosis (AVN), aseptic, or ischemic bone necrosis. If the process affects the bones close to a joint, it frequently results in joint surface collapse and ensuing arthritis because of an uneven joint surface. The actual cause of Osteonecrosis is unknown.
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Osteonecrosis can affect any bone, although it most frequently affects the ends (epiphyses) of long bones like the femur (thigh bone). The upper femur (ball portion of the hip socket), lower femur (part of the knee joint), upper humerus (upper arm bone including the shoulder joint), and bones of the ankle joint are frequently affected bones. One bone may be affected, many bones may be affected at once, or multiple bones may be affected over time. Orthopedic surgeons typically use an X-ray or magnetic resonance scan to diagnose the condition (MRI).
The treatment for Osteonecrosis of the hip remains one of the most controversial topics in the orthopedic world. Most people believe the treatment is still unknown. The aim of treatment, if the condition is discovered early, is to maintain the native joint for as long as feasible. The majority of treatment options employed, however, is surgery, employing either a joint-preserving operation, if possible, or joint replacement since Osteonecrosis frequently advances.
In this post, we will explore the natural remedies for Osteonecrosis
What is Osteonecrosis?
Avascular necrosis is a disorder in which the blood supply to bone is fully or partially cut off, resulting in the death of bone tissue. This disorder causes the bones to shatter and collapse gradually over time. This can even cause the afflicted bone’s joint surface to collapse if an AVN has grown near the joint. This disorder is commonly referred to as ischemic bone necrosis, aseptic necrosis, and Osteonecrosis. It mostly affects the hips and other places like the shoulder, knees, and ankles.
Causes and Risk Factors of Osteonecrosis
Even though the major cause of avascular necrosis is an interruption in the blood flow to the bones, resulting in the eventual death of the bone tissues, other dangers and reasons can contribute to the disorder. They include:
- Alcohol consumption
- High doses of corticosteroids are toxic
- Congenital conditions, such as Legg-Calve Perthes disease.
Although the exact cause of blockages in the bone’s blood flow is unknown, the disorder has negatively impacted patients’ daily lives. It is not limited to a specific group but may affect any healthy person, and the risk factor is highest for those aged 30 to 60. Additionally, men are more likely to be impacted by AVN than women.
Other frequent causes of AVN include:
- Decompression sickness or Caisson illness – This is a serious disorder that mostly affects scuba divers that occurs when nitrogen gas bubbles are released into the circulation and cause nerve damage to the spinal cord and brain.
- HIV infection
- Gaucher’s disease — when fatty substances build on the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, bone activities diminish, leading to AVN.
- Sickle cell anemia
- High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with cardiovascular disease.
- Organ transplants
Signs and Symptoms
Patients with Osteonecrosis may not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages. Most patients, however, suffer joint discomfort as the condition worsens; first, only while putting weight on the afflicted joint; later, even when at rest. Pain might be minor or severe and often comes on gradually. Pain may start or significantly worsen if Osteonecrosis worsens and the bone and surrounding joint surface collapse. A joint’s range of motion may be restricted by severe pain to create stiffness. In the afflicted joint, osteoarthritis that is incapacitating may form. For each patient, the interval between the onset of symptoms and the loss of joint function varies and might last anywhere between a few months and more than a year.
- Trauma: Trauma can damage blood vessels and disrupt blood flow.
- Fat deposits in blood vessels: Fat deposits in blood arteries can constrict and impede blood flow to tissues.
- Medical conditions: Sickle cell anemia reduces bone oxygenation.
- Cancer treatment: Radiotherapy weakens bones and damages blood vessels.
Diagnosis of Osteonecrosis
During a physical exam, a doctor or nurse will press on your joints to see if they hurt. They might also move the joints in different ways to see if they have less range of motion.
Many conditions can cause joint pain. Imaging tests can help find out where the pain is coming from. Some tests could be:
- X-rays. They can show changes in the bone that happen when avascular necrosis gets worse. Most of the time, X-rays don’t show any problems in the early stages of the condition.
- CT scan and MRI. These tests make detailed pictures showing early bone changes that could be signs of avascular necrosis.
- Bone scan. A tiny amount of something radioactive is put into a vein. This tracer goes to the damaged or healing parts of bones. On the imaging plate, it looks like bright spots.
Treatment for Osteonecrosis
The goal of treatment is to stop bone loss from getting worse. In the early stages of avascular necrosis, certain medicines may help ease symptoms:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) might help relieve the pain caused by avascular necrosis. You can get stronger NSAIDs with a prescription.
- Osteoporosis drugs: There are proofs that these kinds of medicines might slow the progress of avascular necrosis,
- Drugs that lower cholesterol: Reducing the amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood could help stop the blockages in the blood vessels that can lead to avascular necrosis.
- Blood vessel-opening medicines: Iloprost (Ventavis) might help get more blood to the bone that needs it. We need to learn more.
- Blood thinners: When the blood doesn’t clot properly, blood thinners like warfarin (Jantoven) might keep clots from forming in the blood vessels that supply the bones.
- Rest: Doctors may recommend rest as part of the treatment therapy. Bone damage could be slowed by doing less physical activity or using crutches for a few months to keep weight off the joint.
- A physical therapist can show you exercises that will help you keep or improve your joint’s range of motion.
- Electrical stimulation: Electrical currents might help the body grow new bone to replace the damaged bone. During surgery, electrical stimulation can be used directly on the area that is hurt. Or, it can be given with electrodes that are stuck to the skin.
Treatment for Osteonecrosis of the Hip
Because most people don’t show signs of avascular necrosis until it’s pretty far along, your doctor might suggest surgery. These are the choices:
- Core decompression: Part of the inner layer of bone is cut away by a surgeon. In addition to making the pain go away, the extra space inside the bone makes healthy bone tissue and new blood vessels grow.
- Bone transplant (graft): This procedure can help strengthen the bone where avascular necrosis has happened. A piece of healthy bone from another part of the body is used for the graft.
- Changes to bones (osteotomy): A wedge-shaped piece of bone is taken out above or below a weight-bearing joint to take pressure off the damaged bone. Joint replacement might be put off if the bone is reshaped.
- Joint replacement: If the affected bone has collapsed or if other treatments aren’t working, surgery can replace the damaged parts of the joint with plastic or metal parts.
- Regenerative medicine treatment: In the early stages of avascular necrosis of the hip, a new procedure called “bone marrow aspirate and concentration” might be helpful. During surgery, the doctor takes out a piece of dead hipbone and replaces it with stem cells from bone marrow. This could help grow new bone. We need to learn more.
Natural Remedies for Osteonecrosis
In addition to medical treatments, people have found that home remedies for avascular necrosis can help relieve the symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse. Here are some of them:
Resting the bone or joint that hurts is very important. Running, football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and other high-impact sports or activities that put stress on the joint should be avoided. You might be able to do low-impact exercises like swimming or yoga. If needed, crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair can be used to keep as little weight as possible on the joint.
2. Temperature therapies
When a joint hurts, putting ice or heat on it can help ease the pain. The heat helps improve blood flow, increase range of motion, and loosen up stiff joints. When joints hurt, ice numbs the pain and reduces swelling.
3. Physical Activity
A physiotherapist can give you exercises to do at home to keep or improve your joint’s range of motion. You can use these exercises or combine them with other traditional medical treatments.
4. Getting rid of risk factors
Several lifestyle parameters are linked to avascular necrosis. If the disease gets worse or spreads to other parts of the body, cutting back on alcohol, lowering high cholesterol levels, and quitting smoking may help.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink
One thing that can make you more likely to get AVN is drinking alcohol. If you keep drinking alcohol, the fatty substances in your blood will build up and block the blood vessels in the affected areas. This will make your condition worse. If you have to, stick to a glass of red wine at night. There are a number of reasons why you should drink less alcohol or think about giving it up completely. Drinking one glass of wine a day is fine, but drinking more than that can hurt your heart, organs, and bones. Don’t drink alcohol, and take care of your body.
- Keep your cholesterol levels low: Make sure you have a healthy, low-fat diet by avoiding hydrogenated oils and fried foods and eating less whole-fat dairy products, which you can replace with low- or no-fat versions. By doing this, your cholesterol levels will stay low, which is good for your blood and heart. Before you cook red meat, make sure to cut off any fat that you can see. Eat foods like fish, walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans, tuna, and olive oil that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t fry the olive oil because it will destroy the omega-3s and make it useless.
- Avoid or eat fewer condiments like butter and mayonnaise that are high in fat: You can get the fats you need from healthy foods like raw nuts, vegetable oils like olive oil, and cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel. Eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains without any butter, cheese, or cream sauces.
- Reduce sugar intake: If you have diabetes, make sure to keep your blood sugar levels in a normal range at all times. Diabetes is one of the things that can put you at risk for AVN, so you should talk to your doctor right away if your blood sugar suddenly goes up or down. One of your top goals should be to adjust your glucose level by paying attention to what you eat and what medicines you take.
- Acupressure therapy: This is another helpful method that involves pressing on certain parts of the body that help you relax. A physical therapist can tell you more about acupressure. You can do it yourself on a regular basis, or you can make an appointment with a professional and make it a full-day stress-busting session.
- Consume more vegetables and herbs: Herbs like Shatavari, ashwagandha, Ashoka, Brahmi, turmeric, shuddha, and Guggulu are good for your health in general and should be eaten every day. Natural calcium feeds the bones and keeps them from breaking down. Here are five natural foods that can give you calcium and strengthen your bones:
- Sesame Seeds: Take at least one tablespoon of sesame seeds with water every morning. This is the best way to get calcium for your bones.
- Almonds: Eat five to ten almonds that have been soaked every day.
- Spinach: Spinach is full of calcium, so add one cup of cooked spinach in any form, like puree, soup, or with your other vegetables.
- Fig: Soak one cup of dried figs in water overnight. The next morning, make a spread or a smoothie with the figs and have it with milk.
- Ragi: Cook 100 g of ragi to make porridge, or mix ragi powder with besan to make a pancake.
Avascular necrosis (AVN), also known as Osteonecrosis, is the death of bone tissue caused by a lack of blood flow to a bone. There will be tiny cracks in the bone, which will cause the bone to fall apart as a whole. If AVN affects bones close to a joint, the surface of the joint may break down. Most of the time, the hip is the bone or joint area that is affected by AVN. Along with contemporary medical treatments, natural remedies for Osteonecrosis can help relieve pain and keep the condition from getting worse.