WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis refers to an inflammation of the joints. It is known by many names - comprising over 100 diseases and conditions, most of which are associated with pain or stiffness. Arthritis is a chronic pain disease that directly affects millions of Americans. Reports indicate that 40 million Americans suffer with osteoarthritis alone. The most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS?
People describe their symptoms as pain, stiffness (typically in the morning), muscle weakness (especially in the knee), swelling (tender and sore joints), reduced range-of-motion and as hearing cracking or creaking sounds. If weight-bearing joints, such as the hips or knees are involved, mobility can be affected.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis can affect a person at any age, as observed in the x-rays of people who are 20 years old and younger. Common causes of arthritis include a genetic predisposition, overabundance of microorganisms, build-up of toxins, decreased gut integrity, obesity, poor diet, hormonal imbalances (low estrogen - menopause), trauma, decreased nerve function, lack of exercise and “wear and tear” of the joint (resulting from certain occupations and activities). Joints that do not move properly due to a misalignment of bones, must not be overlooked, as a major factor in developing arthritis.
HOW IS ARTHRITIS TREATED?
Arthritis treatment is created to suit the age, build, pain levels and general health of the patient. Arthritis treatment options for people with mild to moderate arthritis, may include:
Chiropractic: Physical manipulation allows joints to be directly adjusted - reducing pain and stiffness. By correcting joint and spine dislocations, chiropractic adjustments help increase range-of-motion. Therapies include Massage (increases flexibility and circulation), Heat Therapy (increases blood flow and relaxes tissue), Cold Therapy (reduces swelling and pain) and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation which stimulates pain-inhibiting chemicals in the body).
Physical Therapy and Exercise: The focus is on pain relief, healing, restoring function and movement and to improve body mechanics. Assistive devices and orthotics, such as tape, braces or splints can help protect joints from further injury and take stress off of joints. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility, muscle strength and endurance. Range-of-Motion Exercises help to maintain normal joint movement, relieve stiffness and increase flexibility; Strengthening Exercises help increase muscle strength and Endurance or Aerobic Exercises improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight and improve overall function. The side effect of exercise is weight reduction, which will place less pressure on joints.
Lifestyle Recommendations: It is necessary to change or modify activities that cause pain, modify the home and work areas, maintain proper posture while standing, sitting or sleeping and wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
Many people are searching for an arthritis cure, or at the very least - arthritis relief. Living with arthritis can be stressful. At times you may feel overwhelmed, tired or angry. But, there are many ways to cope with arthritis. If needed, Prescription Pain Medication Intervention, Trigger Point Injections, Joint Injections, Epidural Injections, Nerve Blocks, Facet Joint Blocks or Radio Frequency Nerve Ablation may also be recommended by a Pain Management Specialist.