Arthritis is a very common condition but it is not well understood. It is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. It can affect people of all ages, sexes, and races and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Medical specialists have suggested that arthritis is most common among women, occurring more frequently as people get older. Living with arthritis can be challenging, disruptive, and disconcerting. The pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion can make it difficult to perform even the simplest everyday tasks that most people take for granted. The condition may also put you at greater risk for mental health issues such as depression and loneliness.
The symptoms of the condition can vary from a person to another. They may come and go, be mild, moderate or severe, and they can stay the same for years but may also progress and get worse. Fortunately, there is plenty of things that you can do to ease your symptoms, understand your condition, and gain a sense of independence.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases. It usually means joint inflammation, but it is also used to describe other various conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissues. Arthritis usually affects the places where your bones connect such as the wrists, knees, hips, and fingers. However, some types of arthritis can also affect other connective tissues and organs including the skin, eyes, lungs. There are different types of arthritis that can cause permanent joint changes which may be visible or not.
- Degenerative arthritis, also called osteoarthritis, is the most common type of this condition. It affects the cartilage at the end of the bones causing bone rubs against bone which triggers severe pain, swelling, and stiffness. The main risk factors of osteoarthritis are excess weight, family history, and aging.
- Inflammatory arthritis appears when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation causing joint erosion and damage of the internal organs. Usually, a healthy immune system generates internal inflammation to get rid of the infection and prevent diseases. However, medical specialists believe that inflammatory arthritis can be a combination of genetics and environmental factors that trigger autoimmunity.
- Infectious arthritis appears a result of the infection with a bacteria, virus, or fungus that enter the joint and triggers inflammation. Sexually transmitted diseases, food poisoning contamination, blood-to-blood infections can be the ways the joints get infected. Often, treatments with antibiotics are effective to clear the joint infection, but sometimes arthritis becomes chronic and starts causing severe pain and stiffness.
- Metabolic arthritis is triggered due to high levels of uric acid that builds up and forms in needle-like crystals in the joints. It results in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain or a gout attack.
What can be done about arthritis?
There are various procedures done by the specialists in pain management Queens NY which can help you manage your pain, prevent damage to the affected joint, and keep inflammation at bay. Although you do not have to go through this alone, you also have to be in control of your health and well-being.
- Eat a healthy diet
Although there are no diets or dietary supplements that can cure arthritis, some people suffering from this condition have noticed that their symptoms have improved as a result of changing what they eat. A good diet is not only beneficial for giving the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. It can also help to protect you against some possible side-effects of drugs and against heart disease which may appear as a complication of certain types of arthritis. Medical specialists recommend a balanced and varied diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. Foods such as fish, nuts, olive oil, and plenty of fruits and vegetables are recommended.
- Manage your weight
Weight can have a huge impact on the amount a person can experience from arthritis. Extra weight puts more pressure on the joints, especially areas such as your knees, hips, and feet. Losing weight is essential to improve mobility, decrease pain, and prevent possible future damage to the joints. Losing excess weight also has a lot of other health benefits including reduced risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and increased energy and improved mood.
- Exercise to improve your joint pain and stiffness
Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day is essential for maintaining good overall health. However, for people suffering from arthritis, is one of the best ways to manage joint pain and stiffness. Even moderate exercises can strengthen the muscles around the joints and the bones and increase flexibility while easing the pain. Exercising is also vital for maintaining a healthy weight, improving balance, and help to get good night sleep. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend some exercises suitable for your treatment plan including strengthening exercises, aerobic exercises, and range-of-motion exercises. Medical specialists recommend aquatic exercises as the best workout for people suffering from arthritis. 40-60 minutes of aquatic exercises three times a week provides resistance, improved coordination, and improved range of motion.
- Hot and cold therapy
Unfortunately, arthritis can be an extremely painful condition. Joint pain and stiffness can prevent you from completing everyday tasks and make you experience severe pain. Fortunately, simple hot and cold treatments can make a huge difference by easing the pain. Long and warm showers, an electric blanket, or moist heating pad can help ease the stiffness in your joints. Also, cold treatments can be an excellent method to relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Gel ice bags covered in a towel and applied to the painful joins can do magic for quick relief.
Arthritis can get worse over time if it is not treated appropriately. However, getting specialized treatment and making small changes in your lifestyle will help prevent more joint damage and pain.