Arthritis is a very common, but often misunderstood condition. A wide misconception about Arthritis is that it is a single disease, while it’s actually a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. Read on as we put important Arthritis facts and care suggestions right at your fingertips— one of many areas where joints can become affected by Arthritis.
Note: Each individual should follow the advice of their medical professionals or doctors and speak with them before making changes to diet, exercise, or supplements. This post is for informational use only and should not be considered medical advice.
Two Common Categories of Arthritis and Care Suggestions
Symptoms of Arthritis can come and go, and include mild to severe swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased motion range. Arthritis can limit a person’s ability to take part in some daily activities.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of Arthritis, affecting 27 million Americans. It often occurs in knees, hips, lower back, neck, small finger joints, and thumb and big-toe. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage wears down, and swelling, joint movement, and/or pain results. Risk factors include aging, family history, obesity, joint overuse, and injuries.
Osteoarthritis Care Suggestions:
Those with non-severe Osteoarthritis can help their condition if they: have a healthy weight, get enough exercise, rest for their activity level – especially during a flare up, avoid repetitive movements, strengthen muscles around joints, and use hot and cold therapy.
What is Inflammatory Arthritis?
Inflammatory Arthritis is another type of Arthritis. Rheumatoid (known for its flare-ups) and Psoriatic Arthritis are in this category. Inflammatory Arthritis can occur when the immune system creates inflammation to get rid of what it falsely sees as infection. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, join tenderness, and stiffness in the morning. It occurs in people based on their genes and environmental risk factors like smoking. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in slowing the condition.
Inflammatory Arthritis Care Suggestions:
Because Inflammatory Arthritis is (in most cases) an autoimmune disease, it is important to receive a diagnosis in order to find the best treatment. Receiving a diagnosis for Arthritis can be done through a primary care provider with a physical exam and possibly blood tests or imaging scans. If a diagnosis is uncertain, it is good to visit a Rheumatologist, one who treats inflammatory Arthritis and joint issues. Treatment may include anti-inflammatory drugs among other treatment methods.
Arthritis Pain Management Tips
There are many Arthritis pain-management suggestions out there, from topical medications to hypnosis. It is important to be aware of, and track, any warning signs or triggers that might be leading to an arthritis flare so that you may catch and treat it as early as possible. Some signs that a flare is near may be things such as over-extending yourself physically, feeling under the weather, or not getting enough sleep. Just make sure to consult your care provider before making any changes to your health routine.
- Stay up to date on vaccinations and wash hands frequently to avoid infections which could trigger a flare.
- Stay on top of your emotional health. Anxiety and stress can increase inflammation.
- Slow your movements, but continue moving to avoid stiff joints. Move joints through the fullest range of motion you can. If it causes more pain, stop.
- Do hot & cold therapy, no more than 15-minute intervals, two to four times a day.
- Sleep on a schedule, get a restful sleep with lights off, devices off, and avoid caffeine in the hours before you head to bed.
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet.
- Soak in warm water for at least 20 minutes to ease aches, stiffness, and fatigue.
Arthritis isn’t inevitable! Genetics play a part in being one of the risk factors for developing arthritis, however, there are things that you can do to help decrease other risks. For those who do not have Arthritis, but wish to prevent it, there are several tips to note:
- Maintaining a health weight is important for staving off arthritis such as Osteoarthritis.
- Don’t start smoking. Or, if you are a smoker, make efforts to quit.
- Avoid injuries to bones and joints as much as possible.
- Repetitive motions and heavy lifting from work and hobbies can cause wear and tear to your cartilage. If you are in a position where there is repetitive movement or heavy lifting then take precautions to minimize risk and practice good posture and positioning.
- If you suspect you may have it, visit with your primary care provider as early detection makes a difference when it comes to Arthritis.
Share Your Tips!
We would like to hear from our audience how you best deal with Arthritis or any tips you have to share that may help another reader. Did you find a particular one of our Arthritis facts and care tips helpful? Please let us know in the comments section.