Arthritis symptoms and pain relief

Arthritis has long been a major health issue, affecting millions each year. In general, arthritis affects people who are between 20 and 50 years of age; however, it can occur at any age — even in infancy. Typically, arthritis sets in when a person is approximately 47, and an average of three out of five people with arthritis are younger than 65 years. Moreover, physicians believe that there may be more than a hundred different types of arthritis – although they all share one trait — all of them cause swelling of the joints. Are there things we can do to relieve ourselves from arthritis? The answer is that there are, and in fact, there are many. For instance, nutrition and weight control are just a couple of factors that can play a major role in lessening arthritis pain. Losing ten pounds to reduce the weight on your knees, as well as looking for the proper dietary techniques, are just a couple of the possibilities to ease the pain temporarily.

The signs of arthritis appear to different people in many different ways. Your joints may begin to crack; for instance, your knees will crack while standing up. On the other hand, you may feel a stiffness or “creakiness” in some of your joints. In some cases, you may experience pain in your hands or fingers while attempting to open a container. At such times, you may wonder what is happening.

At its most basic level, arthritis is simply the inflammation of the joints. However, as mentioned above, there may be more than one hundred related types of arthritis. If arthritis is left untreated, it will grow worse, resulting in damage to the joints that eventually cannot be reversed or undone. This is the reason that it is vital to have a check-up and treatment as early as possible.

The type of swelling is one difference between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). A “soggy and soft” inflammation is experienced with the former, while a “bony and stiff” swelling is experienced with the latter. RA and OA normally form symmetrically, giving the same effects to joints on both the right and left sides of the body. Another dissimilarity is the greater likelihood of a person to acquire RA if one of his or her parents or siblings has had it. On the other hand, if a person has a history of damage to the joints, whether it is a continuous strain or an injury, he or she is more likely to develop OA.

In addition, there is no particular rule with regard to gender, although it has been reported that 74 percent of osteoarthritis cases (that is more than 15 million) occur in females, while a somewhat lesser percentage of rheumatoid arthritis cases occur among women.

Overweight people have a tendency to suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), most especially in the knees and when getting past 45 years old, although losing those extra pounds can turn the tides by nearly half. Simple regular activity, along with physical workouts, can help lessen the risk by making the muscles surrounding the joints stronger, thereby decreasing joint deterioration.

There is no permanent cure for arthritis; however, there is a wide array of techniques that can be employed to relieve the painful symptoms. There are medications, some useful treatment choices and supplements available, but the four primary ways to relieve arthritis are mild exercise, proper nutrition, an optimistic outlook in life, and relaxation. Each of these will be further discussed in the succeeding text, in order to dispel that old myth that there is nothing to be done about arthritis. You should also take note that with modern-day treatment options, only a small percentage of people who have arthritis go on to become crippled, and the majority do not even need to use wheelchairs, canes or ambulatory equipment.

Bear in mind that if you think you have arthritis, it would be best to consult a doctor immediately, because only by seeing a professional can you determine whether your symptoms may be due to another problem, such as tendonitis, a virus or other similar problems that may possibly become worse if left untreated.

Joints can manage a very great deal of stress. A good example is our knees, which bear a pressure of three to four times an individual’s overall body weight simply by walking. The pressure of a deep bending of the knees while in a squat position can magnify up to nine times the weight of the body. Just imagine the amount of weight this represents — surely, this equates to a great deal of intense pressure on the knee joints over the course of time.

In terms of the way that joints work, the basic explanation is as follows. When two bones join together (called a joint), their ends are wrapped with cartilage (also known as gristle). This particular cartilage is elastic, sturdy and compressible or spongy. It prevents the bones from touching directly against one another at the joint. Chondrocytes, which are the cartilage’s cells, are believed to be the longest-living cells in our bodies.

Encircling the cartilage and bones is a fibrous and powerful capsule covered with synovium, which is a threadlike membrane that oils the area of the joint with fluid. The result of this is reduced friction, or a softer stroke of bones together. The liquid also nourishes the cells of the cartilage, maintaining their health, and is circulated while the joints are moving together. Therefore, a shortage of activity can reduce the circulation of these fluids, resulting in a lack of nourishment to the cartilage.

Several factors related to this type of activity are bursae, physical activity, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Muscles that are connected to the bones with ligaments and tendons move the bones by means of contraction. In addition, the muscles protect the movement by absorbing shock or impact. All through the locations of tendon and muscles are sacs — or bursae — that are loaded with liquid, and like muscles, they also help to shield the movement. During all the participation of these body parts while in motion, the brain sends messages through the nerves all over the body, specifically to the muscles in this situation, to ready the joints for movement.

The actual science about the causes of arthritis is currently being studied. For the majority of the more than one hundred types of this illness, the causes are yet to be known. Mechanical joint problems (such as tired muscle joints and skeletal irregularities), excessive usage of joints, and injury can lead to arthritis. In addition, issues related to germs and bacteria are also a few problems to consider. Viruses, allergies to food, stress, drugs and heredity are also associated with several types of arthritis, not to mention lack of movement, weak circulation and poor diet.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) mostly affects females. It forms in the joints, internal organs and skin. Ankylosing Spondylitis affects the spinal column, knees, eyes, ankles, shoulders, heart and lungs. Gout is an affliction that primarily affects men. In fact, about a million suffer from this in the United States. This is due to the build-up of uric acid because of interior chemical breakdown. Crystals are then formed, and are trapped in the joints, particularly in the largest toe, which will suddenly become inflamed.

Arthritic joints are likely to be affected with swelling whenever bacteria, viruses or some unwanted elements go through the joint, or when an injury occurs. What takes place when an unknown substance goes through the spot where an injury was sustained is that antibodies, white blood cells, and several natural “fighting” substances automatically kick in to help out, thus resulting in redness, heat and inflammation, as the liquid of the body moves around. The signs of inflammation that are linked to arthritis are sensitive joints, redness and swelling.


Last updated on Feb 21st, 2009 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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