Do you wonder if you have arthritis? Do you have pain, stiffness, fatigue? What can you do to determine whether it is arthritis or structural stress and pain and are there things you can do to treat it naturally? Find out more in this informative article.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation, swelling and irritation of the synovial membrane, which lines the joints (for example, the knees). When the joints becomes inflamed, fluid is produced, and it can become stiff, swollen, painful, and warm to the touch. Over time, inflammation in a joint can damage the cartilage and bone. Arthritis generally affects the joints, but and surrounding tissues, but it can also affect other organs, like the eyes, liver, heart, and lungs. Many people feel unusually fatigued before any other symptoms. Some of the early signs of arthritis include:
- Morning stiffness
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain
- Minor joint swelling
- Hard bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Chest pain when breathing (pleurisy)
- Numbness and tingling
- General weakness or a feeling of malaise
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Eye discharge
- Slight fever
- Dry, itchy, or inflamed eyes
WHO CAN GET ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis is generally thought to be a condition that as associated with aging, however people of all ages can get arthritis. Children and youth under the age of seventeen can get arthritis. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, or JIA, sometimes presents itself as pain and stiffness that changes every day from morning to afternoon or weekly. The arthritis symptoms can worsen, at different times, and this is known as a “flare.” Children usually are diagnosed between ages 6 months and 16 years.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ARTHRITIS?
There are more than one hundred different types of arthritis. The most common types are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia and gout. The main difference between the three, is that OA develops due to physical injury, stress, wear and tear. It is a degenerative joint disease that affects the joints such as hips, knees, neck, lower back, or small joints of the hands, causing pain and stiffness. PsA and RA, on the other hand, are both autoimmune diseases in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s joints. In the case, of PsA it attacks the joints and skin.
WHAT IS THE BEST TREATMENT?
Arthritis is generally thought to not have a cure, but many treatments can relieve pain and make life more comfortable. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce pain and damage to the joints. Treatment options include:
- Occupational therapy
- Swim therapy
- Changes in diet
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Stretching (Tai Chi or Yoga)
- Assistive devices (braces, lumbar support, scooters, walkers, canes, etc.)
- Pain medications
- Naturopathic remedies
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Heat/ice packs
- Positive attitude and affirmations
- Support groups
- Meditation/Spiritual practice
- Weight loss
WHAT GOALS ARE IMPORTANT?
Arthritis is a long-term, chronic disease. Treatments can be very effective in managing symptoms. It’s important for a person with arthritis to find a trusted health practitioner or therapist, or coach to help with setting goals. Ask your trusted practitioner to work with you to decide which treatment plans are best for you in accomplishing these goals:
- managing pain, stiffness and swelling,
- improving flexibility, mobility, endurance, and strength
- developing a regular exercise routine
- maintaining a healthy weight and diet
Macon, Brindles Lee and Reed-Guy, Lauren, “Arthritis, Healthline.com, August 14, 2017
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Arthritis Foundation, 1355 Peachtree St NE, Suite 600, Atlanta,GA 30309, Home Office Phone: 404.872.7100, Helpline 1.844.571.4357
Arthritis National Research Foundation, 5354 E. 2nd St. Ste. 201, Long Beach, CA 90803, Phone: 800.588.2873 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University, is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. All photos used in this article are by www.pixabay.com unless otherwise noted. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
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