What is Arthritis and What Treatment Options are out There

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. There are several forms of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. This is actually a gradual degeneration of the cartilage between the joints. This cartilage provides a cushion, and as it’s worn away the bone of the joints can rub together. This causes pain and stiffness. Though arthritis can affect any joint in the body, it most often affects those joints that bear weight. These include the hips, the knees, the ankles and the feet. Arthritis can affect the fingers, shoulders and spinal column. People think of arthritis as a disease of aging, and it is true that it usually begins in middle age. But people of all ages and both sexes are subject to arthritis. Children are subject to a type of arthritis called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Idiopathic means that its cause is largely unknown, though some doctors believe this form of arthritis is an immune disorder.

Symptoms of Arthritis
It is true that the stiffness and pain of arthritis can be exacerbated by changes in the weather. The discomfort seems especially bad when the weather is cold and damp. The joints may swell up, but they are not red or hot. The person may hear crackling sounds when they move the joint. The pain of arthritis does not seem to correlate with how advanced the disease is. Some people with what a doctor would consider a mild case of arthritis have intense pain, while others with advanced disease have little pain or no pain at all.

What cause Arthritis
Medical experts believe that the simple wear and tear of living causes the cartilage between the joints to deteriorate. Other people get arthritis after they have suffered a trauma or injury to the joint, while others have a family history of the disease. Obesity, which increases the stress on weight-bearing joints, is also a factor in whether a person gets arthritis.

Arthritis Treatments
Though there is no cure, there are many treatments for osteoarthritis. Some of them involve changes in the patient’s lifestyle. Some patients can control the pain or advance of arthritis by losing weight and performing stretching exercises, yoga or water aerobics. Occupational therapies help people with day to day tasks, while orthopedic shoes, walkers, canes or crutches can increase the patient’s mobility. Some doctors fit their patients with braces, supports, neck braces, collars or splints to relieve their discomfort. Some patients turn to acupuncture for relief. In acupuncture, the therapist inserts very fine needles into the patient’s skin to help balance the flow of energy in their body. The needles may be heated or electrified to make them more potent. Many people do find relief from acupuncture, and health experts claim that the needles help the brain release endorphins. These are natural painkillers. Some patients have surgery when nothing else helps their arthritis. People have partial or complete hip or knee replacements or have artificial joint fluid, analgesics and corticosteroids injected into the spaces between their joints. The doctor may prescribe pain and anit-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.

About the Author

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    Huyen Trang Dang

    Huyen Trang Dang works as a Creative Manager in an international shoe company. Her core competencies are social media marketing and brand building. Even though Dang is a graduate in Business Economics; she has been working as a Social Media ... [ Read more ]

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