Arthritis is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the world, affecting millions of people each year and causing debilitating pain and immobility. Thankfully, advances in arthritis treatment have been made, allowing patients to live more comfortably than ever before. If you suffer from arthritis or know someone who does, here’s what you need to know about this debilitating disease to managed it effectively.
What is arthritis?
The term arthritis means inflammation of the joints. It is a joint disorder, which is characterized by pain, stiffness and swelling in one or more joints. Arthritis affects people of all ages but it is most common in adults over 60 years of age. The symptoms depend on the type of arthritis and can range from mild to severe. There are many different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis which is the most common form and rheumatoid arthritis which can cause permanent joint damage if not treated early on.
The different types of arthritis
In most cases there are two types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis is the more common type of arthritis disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Both types of arthritis can lead to loss of joint function.
Primary symptoms of arthritis
The symptoms of arthritis can vary from person to person and are often difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may include :
- Joint pain and stiffness,
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Loss of function.
A doctor will typically diagnose arthritis by taking the patient’s medical history, examining their joints, running tests, and ruling out other causes of the symptoms.
The causes of arthritis
There are three types of arthritis, which have different causes.
- Osteoarthritis and is caused by wear-and-tear on the joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints.
- Gout is a form of arthritis caused by uric acid crystals in the joint space.
While there are treatments for these diseases, they come with side effects and cannot cure them entirely.
What does arthritis pain feel like?
It’s normal for arthritis pain to wax and wane, with flare-ups and periods of remission.
- Pain is often worse at night or in the morning, as well as after a period of rest.
- It can feel like a deep ache in your joints that doesn’t go away.
- an intense burning sensation in your muscles.
- Sometimes it feels like pins and needles in your fingers or toes.
- You may also have swollen joints, stiffness, or trouble moving around.
How do I know if my pain is from arthritis disease?
Pain is a common symptom of arthritis and can be experienced in many different ways. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor as soon as possible. –
- Dull ache
- Shooting pain – Numbness or tingling sensations in extremities or face (may indicate nerve damage)
- Discomfort after walking for short distances (may indicate gout)
- Redness or swelling of the joints with warmth around the area (may indicate septic arthritis)
- Stiffness and joint immobility (may indicate osteoarthritis)
- Sudden onset of fatigue or fever without an obvious cause (may indicate rheumatoid arthritis)
- Joints that are difficult to move
- Stiffness while rotating or movement of joints
- Fingers that lock into place when flexed
- Swollen wrists
- Knuckles cracking constantly
How can I stop my arthritis disease from hurting?
One of the most common questions people with arthritis ask is how they can stop the pain. There are many ways to manage arthritis pain, from taking over-the-counter medication and therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
- Exercising regularly can also help reduce pain and stiffness in joints due to arthritis. People with arthritis should try different types of exercises, such as stretching or swimming, to find what works best for them.
- Practicing Yoga help to reduce arthritis pain effects.
- Another important step in managing arthritis pain is getting enough sleep, studies have found that not sleeping enough leads to more joint stiffness and more pain because it reduces the body’s natural production of anti-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Does arthritis hurt all the time?
No, in fact, there are many people who have mild arthritis that never bothers them. It’s also possible for people to have arthritis and not be aware of it because the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. For some people, the pain is constant and excruciating while others only feel it after doing a lot of physical activity or on an occasional basis.
What is most effective treatment for arthritis disease?
There are many different treatments for arthritis, including medication and physical therapy. Medications used to treat arthritis include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which can help reduce inflammation, and corticosteroids, which can help reduce the pain. Physical therapy is also helpful because it helps keep joints flexible and strengthens muscles around the joint.
When to see a Doctor?
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include unexplained weight loss, fevers, joint pain or swelling, increased fatigue, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, difficulty sleeping and stiffness in the morning. At Elite Pain and Spine, we believe in looking at all possible causes of your symptoms and helping you manage your condition to give you a better quality of life. The best results can only be achieved if you are committed to follow through with all aspects of treatment plan that includes managing lifestyle factors such as stress and diet.