Arthritis is very prominent nowadays, but the condition is not very well understood. Arthritis is not a single disease; rather it is an indirect way to describe joint pain or joint disease, and is categorized as inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. People of races, ages, and sexes can and do have arthritis, as it’s the leading cause of disability in America. According to Arthritis.org, more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffer from Arthritis. Although there are over 100 types of arthritis, the most common types are, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms and Causes of Arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis can vary from person to person, but common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Some risk factors of arthritis include:
- Obesity- Carrying excess pounds puts extra stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips, and spine, which gives you a higher chance to develop arthritis.
- Family History- Some types of arthritis run in families, if some of your family members have arthritis, you have a better chance to develop it. Your genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger arthritis.
- Previous Joint Injury- You are much more likely to develop arthritis in a joint that you have previously injured while perhaps playing a sport.
- Your Sex- Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, and men are more likely to develop gout.
- Age- The risk of arthritis increases with age.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of inflammatory arthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule- a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen, and after time causes the cartilage and bone within the joint to be destroyed. There are hundreds of different rheumatic conditions including gout, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and many others, but rheumatic arthritis only affects about 1 percent of the U.S population (2.1 million people). Rheumatoid arthritis often begins in middle age and is more frequent in the elder generation, but children and young adults can also suffer from this disease. Researchers believe that autoimmunity can be triggered by a combination of environmental factors and genetics.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It involves the wear and tear of your joint’s cartilage, the hard, slick coating on the ends of the bones. If not taken care of, the cartilage can totally fade; prompting bone on bone friction, which can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. During this period, joints begin to lose strength and pain can become chronic. If you are experiencing mild or moderate joint symptoms, a few ways that our amazing doctors at Synergy Oviedo Chiropractic can help are:
Trigger-point therapy- applying gentle pressure to the specific area to alleviate the pain.
Cold laser therapy- a non-heat-producing laser that penetrates deep into the tissue and can reduce inflammation.
Adjustments- restores mobility in joints.
Therapeutic exercises and stretches- Activities that promote strength and endurance.
Staying active and exercising often, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding injury as well as repetitive movements can prevent the various types of arthritis.
Recommended exercises for patients that suffer from arthritis:
- Range-of-motion exercises: activities such as stretching and dancing can really help with arthritis. By doing exercises like these, your body will maintain normal joint movement and will increase joint flexibility.
- Strength training: believe it or not, weight training can actually support and protect the joints affected by arthritis by strengthening the muscles around them. Unless pain or swelling occurs, repeat this every other day to maximize results.
- Aerobic and endurance exercises: riding a bike, walking, or swimming are all activities that can help improve your cardiovascular system, while also toning your muscles and keeping your weight at a healthy number. The recommended amount of exercise is at least 30 minutes 3 times a week, once again, unless swelling or pain occurs.