“Arthritis” literally translates to “joint inflammation.” One of your body’s natural responses to illness or damage is inflammation. Swelling, discomfort, and stiffness are all part of it. Tissue damage may result from inflammation that lasts a very long period or keeps coming back, as in arthritis.
Tissue damage may result from inflammation that lasts for a very long time or keeps coming back, as in arthritis. Over 100 disorders fall under the umbrella category of arthritis. A joint, such as the hip or knee, is where two or more bones meet.
Your joints’ bones are coated with cartilage, a supple, smooth substance. It protects the bones and makes it painless for the joint to move. The synovium lines the joint. The synovium’s lining creates synovial fluid, a lubricant that hydrates the joint and reduces internal friction.
The joint capsule is a robust fibrous covering that surrounds it. Ligaments, which are strong tissue bands that link the bones and support the stability of the joint. Your joints are supported and moved by your muscles and tendons.
When a joint or the region surrounding it gets inflamed, arthritis results, causing discomfort, stiffness, and even trouble moving. Some kinds of arthritis may also affect the skin and internal organs, among other body parts.
One in five individuals suffers from arthritis. Anyone may experience it, but as you become older, it happens more often.
Types of Arthritis
Several of the most prevalent forms of arthritis include:
Osteoarthritis – The most common kind is this. Your bones’ ends’ cartilage starts to erode as a result. The bones start to collide as a result. Your fingers, knees, or hips might all hurt.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage to degenerate, which often occurs as people age. Because of this, osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease. However, if there are other factors, it may start much earlier. For instance, a fracture close to a joint or an athletic injury like a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) might result in arthritis. It may affect any joint, but the hands and weight-bearing joints including the knee, hip, and facet joints are most often affected (in the spine).
Rheumatoid arthritis. Any joint in the body may be impacted by this chronic condition, although the hands, wrists, and knees are the most commonly affected areas. The immune system, which serves as the body’s defense against infection, wrongly assaults the joints in rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in swelling of the joint lining. Inflammation may harm bone and cartilage when it spreads to adjacent tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis may, in more severe forms, damage the skin, eyes, and nerves, among other bodily organs.
Gout. This painful ailment develops when the body can’t get rid of uric acid, a chemical that occurs naturally. In the joints, the extra uric acid crystallizes into needle-like structures that cause acute pain, swelling, and inflammation. The big toe, knee, and wrist joints are the most often affected by gout.
Causes of Arthritis
Numerous forms of arthritis lack a known cause. Researchers are investigating how lifestyle and genetics (heredity) interact to cause arthritis.
Your chance of developing arthritis may increase due to a number of factors, such as:
Age. Your joints have a tendency to deteriorate over time. Age increases the likelihood of having arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis.
Sex. With the exception of gout, women are more likely to develop most kinds of arthritis.
Genes. Some forms of arthritis are hereditary. Some diseases, including lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis, are correlated with specific genes.
extra weight Obesity increases wear and strain on weight-bearing joints and raises the risk of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis.
Injuries. They may harm joints, which may lead to certain conditions.
Infection. Inflammation in the joints may be brought on by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
Work. Some occupations that require heavy lifting or repetitive motions may put stress on the joints or injure them, which can result in arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. For instance, you may be more prone to developing osteoarthritis if your job requires you to often bend and squat your knees.
The symptoms of various forms of arthritis might vary in intensity from person to person. In most cases, osteoarthritis does not manifest any symptoms outside of the joint. Fatigue, a fever, a rash, and indications of joint inflammation are indicators of different forms of arthritis.
- Joint malformation
How Arthritis Is Diagnosed
The first step in therapy is a diagnosis of arthritis. Your physician will:
- Take into account everything of your medical history. This will describe your symptoms as well.
- Examine your condition. Your doctor will examine your joints for swelling, soreness, redness, warmth, or loss of mobility.
- use imaging tests, such as X-rays. These may often identify the kind of arthritis you have. Bone spurs, cartilage loss, and, in more severe instances, bone pressing on bone are all often seen on X-rays, which are used to diagnose osteoarthritis.
- Check the joint fluid. To distinguish osteoarthritis from other forms, blood tests and joint aspiration (using a needle to extract a tiny sample of fluid from the joint for testing) are sometimes employed.
The diagnosis and course of treatment will typically be determined by analyzing a sample of fluid from the afflicted joint if your doctor considers infectious arthritis to be a consequence of another illness.
Test your urine or blood. These examinations may assist in identifying the kind of arthritis you have or help your doctor rule out other conditions as the source of your symptoms.
Rheumatoid factors (RF), which are antibodies that the majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis have in their blood but may also be present in other conditions, are detected in blood testing for rheumatoid arthritis.
The anti-CCP test, a more recent test for rheumatoid arthritis, examines antibody levels in the blood. It is more accurate and likely to be higher exclusively in patients who have or are going to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Anti-CCP antibodies may also be used to identify those who will develop more severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment of Arthritis
Pain alleviation, increased joint mobility and strength, and maximum disease management are the main objectives of therapy. Your doctor has a variety of solutions to assist you in controlling pain, avoiding joint injury, and reducing inflammation.
Rest, occupational or physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, medication, and sometimes surgery to repair joint damage are all possible treatments for arthritis. One or more of these may be included in your treatment plan.
Osteoarthritis treatments may often assist with pain relief and stiffness reduction, but the condition may worsen with time. Rheumatoid arthritis used to proceed in a similar way, but modern medicines may halt or significantly delay this process.
Occupational therapy for the treatment of arthritis
An essential component of treating arthritis is protecting your joints. You may discover simpler methods to carry out your daily duties with the assistance of an occupational therapist. A practising occupational therapist may instruct you in:
- Attempt to avoid joint-stressing postures.
- Spare your weaker joints and muscles and use your powerful ones.
- Provide supports or braces to protect certain joints.
- Utilize hold bars while bathing.
- Use adapted walkers, canes, and doorknobs
- Use tools to assist you with chores like zipping up socks and pulling up zippers and jars.
Treatment of Arthritis with Medicine
Treatment for arthritis will vary depending on the kind and severity of the underlying ailment. Prior to more significant issues developing, the major objectives are to decrease inflammation and enhance the functionality of the damaged joints.
You may wish to see your doctor before choosing a medication to relieve the pain associated with arthritis.
Your doctor can suggest corticosteroid joint injections in addition to medications to reduce the discomfort and stiffness of the afflicted joints. Results might vary from short-term to long-term relief.
These drugs often operate by reducing an overactive immune system.
Your doctor may likely recommend acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to treat the pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (NSAID).
Surgical Treatment of Arthritis
Large intravenous dosages of antibiotics are often used to treat infectious arthritis, as well as joint draining to remove extra contaminated fluid.
Various surgical procedures could be required to ease arthritis pain or to regain mobility or joint function. The removal of damaged connective tissue lining a joint cavity is known as a synovectomy.
The solution may be surgical replacement if arthritis-related pain and inflammation are so bad or if the joints get so deteriorated. The dependable prosthetic joints composed of ceramic, plastic, and stainless steel may now be used to replace the knee and hip joints. Smaller joints in the fingers and elbows may also be replaced, as well as the shoulder joint.
Arthritis in the neck and lower spine may occasionally be treated with spinal surgery. Although recovery from such surgery is restricted in terms of mobility, the procedures serve to stop additional nerve or blood vessel damage as well as agonising discomfort.
Alternative Treatments for Arthritis Pain
There are efficient psychotherapy techniques to manage arthritic pain in addition to medical therapies for the condition. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has determined that cognitive behavioural therapy, which incorporates relaxation methods, education, and behaviour modification, is superior to standard treatment for reducing arthritis pain.
Through instruction in relaxation techniques and realistic pace-setting, these programmes aim to improve patients’ emotional and psychological well-being. The secret to managing the physical restrictions that may come with chronic rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may lie in learning to overcome emotional tension and worry.
Different methods for planning activities, visualizing, relaxing, diverting the mind, and coming up with innovative solutions may be included in cognitive therapy.
Alternative Treatment Options
Arthritis is treated using a range of complementary treatments. However, none of them have received FDA approval to treat arthritis, so they may not be efficient or secure. If you’re thinking about undergoing these kinds of therapies, it’s crucial to let your doctor know.
While some studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are just as effective as NSAIDs at reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness in osteoarthritis, more recent, sizable studies supported by the NIH have found that these supplements are not all that helpful, save perhaps in a few circumstances. 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams of chondroitin are the typical daily amounts.
By blocking the enzymes that destroy cartilage, the antibiotic doxycycline may have some potential to slow the course of osteoarthritis. To verify these findings, more study is required.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) views acupuncture as a suitable complementary therapy for osteoarthritis, particularly if it affects the knee. According to studies, acupuncture may assist enhance range of motion in troubled knee joints, help minimise discomfort, and help reduce the need for analgesics.
According to several research, the dietary supplement SAMe is just as beneficial as NSAIDs for treating osteoarthritis pain.
Fish oil has been demonstrated to minimise joint stiffness, lower the need for painkillers, and reduce inflammation. A diet low in dairy and animal fats could have comparable results. EPA/DHA pills and oily seafood like salmon and mackerel are great sources of fish oil.
Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms have been treated with at least a dozen different herbs. Since herbs might interfere with one another or with the medications you are taking, talk to your doctor before using any. To lessen discomfort and swelling, herbs including devil’s claw, borage seed oil, and ginger powder have been utilised. Turmeric and stinging nettles have also been used.
For the alleviation of arthritic symptoms, ayurvedic therapy employs both internal and exterior herbal ingredients. Curcumin may be used topically to alleviate rheumatoid arthritis inflammation, and when taken orally, it can improve endurance and lessen morning stiffness. A combination of Withania somnifera, Boswellia serrata, and Cucurma longa significantly reduced pain and impairment in osteoarthritis patients in one trial.
Home Treatment Options
You may use a heating pad for dry heat, a hot bath, or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel for moist heat to ease pain and stiffness in addition to the therapies your doctor has prescribed. For the majority of those with the condition, heat and rest are particularly effective short-term treatments. Exercise on a regular basis is also crucial to maintain joint mobility.
Losing weight is important if you are overweight, particularly if you have arthritis in your legs, knees, or lower back. Having more weight puts more strain and burden on your joints, which might accelerate the progression of your arthritis. Being overweight increases your risk of developing linked health issues. Consult a trained dietitian to assist you in developing a healthy weight-loss strategy.
Specially created utensils, door, and drawer handles, as well as unique bathroom fittings, such as tub railings and raised toilet seats, are beneficial to those with weaker, severely deformed fingers from rheumatoid arthritis.
Even though impairment may not be avoidable due to arthritis, it is avoidable with a well-planned treatment plan that incorporates medicine, exercise, and physical therapy as necessary.
Additional steps you may take to help control the condition are listed below:
- Become informed. Enrol in a self-management course to learn information about managing your arthritis every day.
- Be active. Exercise may improve your mobility, reduce discomfort, and delay impairment.
- Use tools and methods that protect joints during work. Your muscles and joints may be protected with proper lifting and posture.
- Adopt a balanced diet. Your bones and muscles may be strengthened with the aid of a balanced, wholesome diet.
- Don’t postpone getting help. The sooner you get treatment, the greater your chance of preventing irreversible joint injury is.
Most forms of arthritis may be controlled, and the pain and disability can be reduced, with early identification. In addition, arthritis-related tissue damage could be avoided with early diagnosis and therapy. For rheumatoid arthritis, early, intensive therapy is especially crucial to help stop future damage and impairment.