Arthritis, a general term for more than
100 rheumatic diseases involving painful
inflammation of the joint, affecting the muscles, connective tissues,
skin, organs and other related structural changes. The most obvious
warning signs are pain, swelling, problems moving one or more joints
and stiffness. There are
two categories of Arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common arthritis
disease involving a painful deterioration of the cartilage in the
joints that disables senior adults. There are several risk factors for
osteoarthritis which we should take note such as, age, smoking, BMI at
age 40 and lack of hormone therapy (in women). Rheumatoid Arthritis,
another type of arthritis, a disease of our immune system involving
painful inflammation of the joints and related structural changes.
Although arthritis cannot be cured, in
many cases, we can apply treatment to the symptoms which is effective
in relieving or reducing the pain or inflammation of the joints and
improving other related structural changes.
Arthritis patient should perform daily
exercise which is important in building and preserving muscle
strength, protects joint from further stress and keeps them flexible.
These effective exercise program can be range-of-motion exercises to
keep muscles and joints flexible. In order to promote
cardiovascular conditioning and overall fitness, patient can also
perform low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming or
bicycling. Low-impact activities like cross-training programs
are also recommended. Strengthening exercises to build
supporting muscles in order to absorb stress on joints and keep them
stable. Consult your doctor or physical therapist on the right
activities within each category which you should perform.
Physical therapists also teach prescribed muscle-strengthening and
range-of-motion exercises. They can also teach you ways to
control or reduce arthritis pain without medication whereas
occupational therapists teaches you how to use self-help devices and
reduce strain on joints.
It has been found that there is a
connection between obesity and osteoarthritis. This is due to
the excess weight which put stress on weight-bearing joints which will
in turn cause osteoarthritis. Being overweight or suffering from
obesity, these people are often less active and therefore they are
more susceptible to joint stiffening. If you are overweight, try
to slim down by exercising, try to control and plan your daily diet by
reducing your fat consumption and eating a healthful, balanced meals.
Besides exercising and planning our
diets, there are also many types of drugs used to treat arthritis.
They are aspirin, also known as salicylates, which is most widely
prescribed at low doses to relieve arthritis pain and as an
anti-inflammatory agent at high doses. Analgesics given to
reduce pain but not inflammation, disease-modifying antirheumatic
drugs given only under a physician's close supervision is used only
for rheumatoid arthritis. There are also nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory dugs and corticosteroids drugs for the treatment of
arthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to
relieve pain and inflammation by delaying the body's production of
prostaglandins and corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatories
which provide relief initially but may produce troublesome side
effects with long-term use. These drug is therefore can only be
prescribed under a doctor's close supervision.
People with serious arthritis may need a
joint replacement or joint resurfacing which is a procedure performed
by an orthopedic surgeon.
For mild cases, we can also temporarily
reduce arthritis pain by applying heat or cold treatment. This
treatment is especially useful before and after an exercise.
However, most people with arthritis respond more positively to cold
packs than to heat when active inflammation produces severe pain and
According to research, people with
arthritis benefit more from treatment programs that teach them how to
adopt an active, healthy lifestyle and practice pain and stress
management. They are 80 percent more relieved from pain and
joint tenderness or inflammation than they get from using medication
or drugs alone.