According to the CDC, Arthritis is very common condition, with 1 in every 4 adults reporting severe joint pain. Chances are that if you are over 35, in this country, you can see the beginnings of Arthritis if you were to have an X-ray done.
Arthritis is not really a thing: It’s an umbrella term that is used to quickly describe over 100 types of joint pain and joint disease.
Yes! There are more than 100 different types of arthritis (including psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia, and gout). The two that you’ve probably heard of are Osteoarthritis (OA), which is also called Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The most common type of Arthritis, OA, is caused by uneven wear and tear on the joints and typically develops gradually and gets worse as time goes on.
It is more common in bigger weight-bearing joints, like the hips and knees, but it also develops in joints like the shoulders, elbows, and fingers. The more you use a joint in an unbalanced way, the greater the risk or you developing OA (or DJD) in that joint. The joint is inflamed, the cartilage wears away, becoming frayed and rough; and the bones weaken. The cushion created by the space between your bones decreases, which increases inflammation and irritation to the bones of that joint.
If you have had an X-ray of your spine and been told that you have Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) that is OA of the spine.
What causes Arthritis?
Again, Arthritis is not just one thing. It’s over 100 things! Not surprisingly, with so many things being called Arthritis: It is the leading cause of disability in America! Arthritis comes for everyone! It knows no age, sex, race, nationality, or creed! It does, however, have some favorites that it likes to pick on:
Arthritis is most common among women and the older you are, the more it comes after you!
Arthritis likes the knees and the hips:
50% of adults (1 out of every 2) will develop symptoms of knee OA during their lives,
25% of adults (1 out of every 4) will develop symptoms of hip OA by age 85.
Traditional Arthritis Treatment
OA gets worse as time goes on, the longer you wait, the worse it will get! Get started now, to keep it from affecting your life more than it has already!
There is no cure, meaning that once you have developed OA, we can’t turn back the clock. But we can keep you active and keep it from getting worse! There are also many treatment options to help you manage pain.
Clinical guidelines recommend conservative treatment, including physical activity, exercise to improve joint mobility and flexibility, and manual therapy to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight is a major component in minimizing pain associated with OA. Ask your Medical Doctor about your treatment options, they may recommend any of the following for mild or moderate symptoms:
An exercise program to strengthen the muscles around the joint, improve flexibility, lessen stiffness, and reduce pain
Heat and cold therapies
Medication: pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
Avoiding excessive repetitive movements
If joint damage is severe, causing limited mobility and affecting quality of life, joint replacement may be recommended, if necessary.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA is an autoimmune disease.
This means that your body’s immune system doesn’t recognize your joints, thinks that they are an intruder, and attacks them.
This can happen at any age and it happens quickly as the joints swell and hurt, because they are being attacked.
When fighting RA, it’s pretty common to feel tired, as you should: you are in a fight! Unfortunately, there is no proven cure for RA, but medication can help with managing the pain.
What puts you at risk for Arthritis?
Previous joint injury
Uneven use of the joint
Careers that require long periods of standing, lots of bending, or heavy lifting
Weak and unbalanced, muscles
Aging and genetics
What Does Arthritis Feel Like?
Pain and stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after resting
Usually in only one set of joints and it may come and go
Pain that’s worse after activity or at the end of the day
Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and inability to do daily activities
With hip OA, pain in the groin area or the butt and occasionally, the inside of the knee or thigh
With knee OA, a grating or scraping feeling when moving the knee