Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes inflammation, pain, swelling and possibly stiffness and/or a constant achiness in one or more joints. There are actually many different types of arthritis, but these symptoms are common in all of them.
The joint pain experienced in arthritis comes about because of the inflammation of the joint. This inflammation can usually be attributed to wear and tear of the joints, disease or strain from sudden or forceful movements. Arthritis is mostly considered a disease of the elderly as 70% of sufferers are over the age of 65, but it can also affect children and young adults.
The location of the pain will depend on the type of arthritis. In rheumatoid it is most concentrated in the hands, wrists, knees and ankles, whereas osteoarthritis, though also often present in the hands, is likely to be in weight bearing joints such as the back, knees, and hips.
The pain may come on slowly, starting out just once in a awhile for a few hours and working up to a more regular pain, until it may become normal with movement, or even while stationary. Some of the less severe types of arthritis only come on occasionally.
Anyone experiencing regular joint pain should see their doctor. Getting a diagnosis is important in order to know what medical precautions to take. In some cases getting an early diagnosis can mean early treatment, which can decrease the severity of the disease.
There are many things that can be done to help relieve the pain of arthritis. Some of the more traditional methods involve medication. These can be both over the counter, or prescriptions and with varying levels of strength. In most cases this type of arthritis treatment is meant to help with the symptoms and must be repeated regularly for relief.
The first step taken is often just to use over the counter pain medication. Anti-inflammatory pain meds such as ibuprofen can provide relief and may help with swelling. Many people alternate two different types of anti-inflammatory for a better effect.
On the subject of medication, there is an arsenal of heavier medication that can be prescribed. They can be tested to effectiveness and the side-effects monitored in order to find the best one for a given patient. When the arthritis is very bad, steroid medication or shots are commonly used.
Although medication is often placed as the first line of weapons, there are many other things that can be done to try to alleviate the pain and other symptoms. Some of the best arthritis treatments involve making simple lifestyle changes, although actually making the changes can require some self-discipline.
Diet is one of the first things to consider. Some foods may cause a sort of allergic reaction that can increase the inflammation, and thus the pain, of arthritis. The person may have no idea about the allergy, or it could just be the body’s rejection of a certain food. This may be the case with sugar, fatty foods and some even say animal products in general can have a negative influence on arthritis.
Eating foods that are high in anti-oxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients is one good way to help your body to manage and to combat inflammation. Some people report that making a change to their diet has decreased their level of pain, or even eliminated it.
There are also dietary supplements that can be helpful for some. Taking fish or flax seed oil and supplements such as glucosamine or cetyl myristoleate can also be beneficial. In fact some also report a major turn around in their standard of living and ability to function simply because of dietary supplements.
Exercise is another facet of arthritis treatment that many people don’t think enough about. This is probably because when you are experiencing arthritis pain, movement can make it worse. However, there is much good to be had by a regular exercise routine.
The type of exercises that will most benefit arthritis sufferers are low-impact movements. Swimming, walking or using an elliptical machine can help to strengthen muscles without putting too much weight or strain on the joints, depending on the situation. As the muscles and other structures surrounding the joints are strengthened, they are better able to support the joint and provide some relief as they bear the weight.
Another arthritis treatment that many find effective is acupuncture. This method may not be for everybody, as it’s considered an alternative form of medical practice, but around the world it is used as commonly as many of the drugs used in the United States.
Although there is not actual cure for arthritis, it is possible to get great relief by making some lifestyle changes and, when necessary, using the medications that will have the least side effects. Working through natural means you may find your own kind of cure