What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe joint pain and inflammation. However, arthritis may occur due to tens of disease conditions. Nevertheless, among them, osteoarthritis is the most common one. Thus, people may often use arthritis and osteoarthritis interchangeably – therefore, this article primarily focuses on osteoarthritis. Arthritis is almost equally common in both genders.
Among the non-osteoarthritis causes, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases are the common cause of joint disorders. Autoimmune disorders occur in genetically susceptible individuals and are more likely to cause arthritis in females.
Osteoarthritis, the most common cause of arthritis and is often called the disease of wear and tear. It is a condition that is also associated with aging. As the person grows older, various body parts, including joints, become prone to wear and tear.
Arthritis primarily affects the larger weight-bearing joints. Thus, arthritis of the knee and hip joints is most common. Consequently, knee pain is among the most common signs of arthritis. However, arthritis of the spine and wrist is also not rare.
Wear and tear cause the cartilage in larger joints to erode. Thus, weight-bearing bones come in direct contact with each other. This worsens the situation, resulting in the erosion and deformation of joints and related bones.
Causes of arthritis
There is no single cause of arthritis. However, it appears that some individuals are genetically predisposed to the condition. Most cases of arthritis are diagnosed after the age of 40. Its incidence increases with age. Men are slightly less likely to develop arthritis than women.
It appears that the recent rise in obesity is also contributing to the increase in cases of arthritis. After all, knee arthritis is caused by mechanical damage to the knee joints. Other causes could be joint injuries, stress on joints, and certain bone deformities.
Knee pain is the most common sign of the condition. However, arthritis of the hip is not rare. There is often stiffness after prolonged rest. Joint tenderness, pain, loss of flexibility, swelling are common signs. As the disease progresses, there is an increasing loss of mobility.
Doctors would often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers to manage arthritis. However, arthritis is effectively managed through lifestyle changes. There is also a considerable role for supplements in managing the condition.
Obese individuals should start with weight loss, as it will help reduce the mechanical stress on the joints. It could also be good for metabolic health.
The next step is to consider physiotherapyKnee for pain relief along with physical therapy. Applying heat may help counter the pain. Low impact exercises like stretching, yoga, swimming, cycling may help maintain mobility. However, one should avoid high-impact activities like running or rope jumping.
Along with pain killers, physiotherapy, and physical therapy, some patients prefer to use supplements. These supplements may not reverse the condition, but they could help prevent its progress.
Perhaps the most commonly used supplements for joint disorders are those containing glucosamine and chondroitin. One may also use vitamin D supplements along with calcium. These supplements provide essential nutrients for joints. They have been subject to numerous clinical studies and are while some may not be shown in studies to have a chemical effect on the disease, many patients report good results.
Fish oil has been shown to help for reducing joint pain. In addition, it appears that regular intake of low-dose fish oil is enough for osteoarthritis knee treatment in many cases.
In recent years, curcumin has received lots of attention for managing osteoarthritis. Some studies even suggest that curcumin may be as good as commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce knee osteoarthritis pain and inflammation.
Many other supplements are known to help in the condition, like Methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) and Boswellia serrata. One may try multiple supplements and continue using the supplement that works.
Using these measures may help avoid surgical treatment in most cases. Joint replacement surgery is effective, but it is still major surgery. Therefore, one should use multiple ways to manage arthritis and prevent its progress. This can help avoid surgical intervention in most cases.