Let's face it, joint pain is the worst. When diagnosed with arthritis, the road ahead can seem daunting and endless.
When choosing a treatment option for arthritis and joint pain, it's important to remember that there are plenty of options out there. Visit your doctor to get your specific treatment plan of course. There are home remedies with food and oils, doctor prescriptions, creams and more.
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Are Your Joints Hurting?
Well, this can be caused by a range of issues, but the most common is a form of arthritis. There are many types of arthritis that are very similar. I was going to name them all here, but there are over 100 types of arthritis, so I’ll point out a few common forms.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage covering the end of the bones gradually wears away. Without the protection of the cartilage, the bones begin to rub against each other and the resulting friction leads to pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but most often affects the hands and weight-bearing joints such as the knee, hip and facet joints (in the spine). Osteoarthritis often occurs as the cartilage breaks down, or degenerates, with age or overuse. For this reason, osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative joint disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-lasting disease that can affect joints in any part of the body except the lower back and most commonly involves the hands, wrists, and knees. With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system — the body’s defense system against disease — mistakenly attacks itself and causes the joint lining to swell. The inflammation then spreads to the surrounding tissues, and can eventually damage cartilage and bone. In more severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis can affect other areas of the body, such as the skin, eyes, lungs, and nerves.
- Gout is a painful condition that occurs when the body cannot eliminate a natural substance called uric acid. The excess uric acid forms needle-like crystals in the joints that cause swelling and severe pain. Gout most often affects the big toe, knee, and wrist joints.
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What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Different types of arthritis have different symptoms and the symptoms vary in severity from person to person. Osteoarthritis does not generally cause any symptoms outside the joint. Symptoms of other types of arthritis may include fatigue, fever, a rash, and the signs of joint inflammation, including:
With osteoarthritis, the symptoms involve joint pains and gradual stiffness that worsen with time. Rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms involve stiffness in the joints on both sides of the body, painful swelling and inflammation, according to WebMD. The symptoms of infectious arthritis include joint inflammation, tenderness, chills, fever and sharp pain affecting other areas of injury or infection in the body. Certain types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are characterized by joint stiffness and swelling. Loss of appetite, sporadic fever, weight loss, anemia and discolored marks on the limbs may point to other types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease primarily affecting the joints, reports WebMD. Researchers have not yet identified the specific protein responsible for this condition. Chronic inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis frequently results in joint damage and deformity, and many sufferers develop lumps called rheumatoid nodules on joints such as knuckles and elbows where areas of the joint are subject to pressure. In addition to joint pain and stiffness, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are often severe and can include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition of the joints that cause swelling, pain, and stiffness to them. It differs from osteoarthritis in the sense that it is of autoimmune in origin and over time, the condition can result to irreversible, crippling joint damage. The most susceptible age groups for rheumatoid arthritis are people between ages 25-60. Symptoms of the condition are easy to detect and joint damage may start progressing in as early as the first two years of perceiving the symptoms. Since it involves not just the bones but the immune system of the body as well, early detection, diagnosis, and immediate treatment or medication therapy are all important to improve the quality of life of the patient who suffers from it.
RA, just like osteoarthritis exhibits stiffness of the joints, limited mobility, and weakness of the extremities since those are the usual affected parts, body malaise, and low-grade fever. Sometimes, the appearance of nodules near the joints of the fingers can be observed, some joints may even fuse, and there is swelling of the oral glands, the linings of the heart and lungs, and tear glands. Women are more susceptible to acquire the condition and those who have been born from parents with RA are also highly at risk of having the disease later on in life.
Just like its sister osteoarthritis, RA has no cure yet so goals for treating the condition focuses on managing the pain and discomfort brought about by it. The main objectives for managing the condition is to somehow maintain good joint function, halt and curb the onset of joint damage, and reduce immobility, stiffness, and pain.
First off, analgesics and other medications for swelling and inflammation should always be in the treatment plan. Rehabilitative therapy to restore optimum mobility to the joints should be performed, and for worst cases, surgery.
People with rheumatoid arthritis cope up with the condition by living a healthier lifestyle as much as possible, and actively participate in exercise routines. Best of all, staying positive is key, so smile and work it all off for your health. Good luck!
Sources: mayoclinic.org, webmd.com, everydayhealth.com