With over 100 different forms, arthritis is not only common among Americans, but it affects people of all ages across the globe. It would be wrong to say that arthritis is a single disease – because it’s an umbrella term that stands for joint inflammation. In short, it stands for a group of joint conditions that affect one’s mobility by restricting the ability of their joints to function effectively.
A principal cause of disability in the US, arthritis is more common among people above 60.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Almost 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition.” It further says that “The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 31 million Americans.“
And the worst part is, by 2040, over 78 million Americans are expected to suffer from this problem. So what’s essential for us to realize at the moment is the fact that when this condition affects someone, it not only creates a problem for them alone, but it also has a severe impact on their loved ones, friends, and colleagues.
When you have a loved one living with pain and discomfort, it affects more than just them. You may find yourself struggling to focus on your own job and the rest of the areas of life. The illness of your loved one affects your own mental state to a great extent because you are concerned about their health and well-being. And since you can’t always see them struggling with life, you tend to worry more from afar. Make sure you talk about your own concerns with a trusted friend or therapist if you feel you need a safe place to vent.
Here Are Some Common Forms Of Arthritis
Stems from the overuse of joints with age, osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of arthritis. Also known as wear and tear arthritis, it’s a degenerative joint disease that worsens with age. People with this condition have cartilage damage, which leads to pain in the joint.
Cartilage is a thin, firm, and flexible connective tissue that safeguards the end of the bones in a joint by working between them as a cushion. It prevents the friction between bones; however, when it becomes damaged, it fails to
The factors that put you at the risk of osteoarthritis include age, genetics, obesity, joint injuries, and high-intensity physical activity. Some of these factors are beyond your control such as age; however, you can certainly avoid the risk that comes with obesity, joint injuries, and high-intensity workouts.
A chronic autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the joints, which eventually results in inflammation and pain. If you fail to treat this condition, you will end up damaging your joints permanently. People with this condition get rheumatoid nodules – which are nothing but the lumps on the skin in areas that are subject to pressure like elbows and heels.
The immune system attacks the synovium – which is a thin layer of connective tissue surrounding the joints. And when it becomes damaged, it releases a chemical that affects bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include smoking, genes, and hormonal effects. It is more common among females.
According to an NCBI study, “Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease with a female predominance, and is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the world’s population.“
Psoriatic arthritis is another common form of arthritis, and it mostly starts affecting people between 30-to-50 years of age.
It’s a disease that leads to red and patchy areas in the skin, and it affects both males and females equally.
You can divide different forms of arthritis into
- Degenerative arthritis
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Metabolic arthritis
- Infectious arthritis
Managing Arthritis Pain
Try Physical Therapy
The pain that results from arthritis can keep you from living a physically active life; therefore, it’s essential that you take the right type of treatment, which can improve your quality of life. People with arthritis, who fail to perform the activities of daily living with ease, don’t only struggle to gather that much-needed confidence but also have poor self-esteem.
Therefore, to live a happy, healthy, independent, and dignified life, it’s essential that you seek quality treatment. One of the best treatments for subsiding the pain that stems from arthritis is physical therapy. The reason it is considered one of the most effective ways of dealing with joint inflammation is, it doesn’t rely on surgeries and medications.
Yes, physical therapy is not only pain-free, but it’s also a drug-free and surgery-free treatment for managing arthritis pain and improving flexibility. It enhances the ability of your joints to function effectively.
A physical therapist uses a variety of techniques to minimize the pain that stems from injuries and chronic illnesses. For example, to relieve the pain that occurs due to injuries, they might use physical therapy techniques like Kinesio Taping, passive treatments to relax your
However, when it comes to managing the pain that stems from arthritis, they generally use aquatic therapy, and there are several reasons behind that. It is a pain-relief technique during which a skilled physical therapist helps their patients perform effective exercises underwater.
Water not only helps in performing the exercises smoothly but it also reduces the pressure on your joints. During the aquatic therapy sessions, your therapist will ask you to carry out only those moves that are healthy for you. It not only helps in minimizing the pain but also offers that much-needed relaxation.
According to Aquatic Therapy – a trusted wellness center in Atlanta, Georgia “Aquatic therapy is a viable option for treating arthritic joints. The water helps to provide compression, which reduces swelling. Apart from that, the buoyancy of the water unloads the joint, allowing for greater range of motion without the weight of the body compressing joints together.
However, before incorporating the exercises that you need to perform, your therapist will check your range of motion. For obtaining a deeper understanding of your health, they will also check your medical history.
Overweight is the biggest problem for those struggling with arthritis pain. Since it puts enormous stress on your weight-bearing joints, it increases the intensity of the pain naturally. Yes, you got that right, when you perform physical activities, you feel severe pain on your weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees, and ankles because they have to struggle with your body weight.
Therefore, if you want to shed those extra pounds and improve your joint health, it’s essential for you to adopt a useful workout routine. Since you are already struggling with a joint disease, make sure that you consult a healthcare professional before starting your workout routine. Once they give the thumbs up, you can go ahead with it.
Also, make sure that you take the help of an experienced fitness trainer; otherwise, you might end up injuring your joints by performing the wrong moves.
Rely On Healthy Foods
Consuming healthy food is not only crucial for fighting arthritis pain, but it’s also significant in enhancing your overall well-being. Fish is highly vital for you to beat arthritis pain. Therefore, you should increase the intake of salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps control inflammation.
Apart from increasing the consumption of fish, you should also include soybeans in your diet as they are a rich source of protein and fiber, which is very good for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Try and increase your intake of healthy oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, and walnut oil in your diet. Other healthy additions to your diet include broccoli, cherries, milk, yogurt, and green tea along with following a healthy eating plan. Limit sweets and focus more on fruits and veggies filling half your plate, along with proteins and carbs. Be wary of fad diets that make excessive promises – you may see some initial changes, but it’s hard to maintain these diets over the long run and weight gain usually comes back.
Last but not least, you should always try to maintain a positive attitude, enjoy warm baths with Epsom Salts, stay as active as possible, and get a good night’s sleep. These are all ways to help yourself stay as healthy as possible