Why are there so many different types of arthritis, and does it matter which one I have? Well, it matters what kind of arthritis you have, because now we have specific treatments for each kind of arthritis. So if we consider what is the most common arthritis, it’s degenerative arthritis, which is wear and tear in the cartilage of the joints, number one in terms of the number of people who have it. And then there’s rheumatoid arthritis in terms of the seriousness of the involvement of the joints with inflammation. And the whole body gets involved. And then we have systemic lupus, in which most parts of the body could involve, for example the kidneys, the heart, the lungs — they can be involved in the process of systemic lupus. And we have gout, for example, which is due to increased uric acid in the body and inflammation of the big toes and then other joints. So we have rare arthritic problems such as vasculitis, inflammation of the vessels of the body. We have conditions like what is call Behcet’s syndrome, in which the mouth gets a lot of sores and the eyes are inflamed and the joints hurt. So we have so many typical and atypical kinds of arthritis that a rheumatologist can really diagnose.
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Arthritis in the Back
Arthritis is a common form of back pain. An early diagnosis will help greatly in its treatment and cure. As we become older, the joints of the spine degenerate leading to pain and inflammation. The lower back is normally where we begin to feel the pain. The symptoms vary – some feel immobilizing pain, some experience only stiffness and some have no symptoms at all.
The spongy discs that cushion the bones of the vertebrae may degenerate with ageing causing the adjoining vertebrae to press against the disc and bulge outwards. The spinal cord may get pressurized with this bulging outwards into the canal that runs the spinal cord. This narrowing or stenosis of the canal carrying the nerves causes the compression of nerves and pain. Having weak abdomen muscles or being overweight increases the risk of getting back arthritis.
Modifications in lifestyle along with medications will help greatly in the treatment of back arthritis. Here are a few medications available for back arthritis: Ointments, gels and creams available over the counter provide temporary relief for back arthritis. They include remedies containing camphor, menthol, capsaicin and Aspercreme. Anti-inflammatory drugs that are non-steroid like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Gastrointestinal bleeding may be a possible side effect of these drugs. COX-2 inhibitors provide pain relief with a lower risk of gastro-intestinal side effects though some may carry heart risks.
Modifications in your lifestyle can be a great help in making back arthritis more bearable. Strengthening and stretching exercises, swimming and walking improve mobility and help in reducing stiffness. Physical exercises that strengthen back muscles, build endurance and improve blood supply are good for back arthritis. Losing excess weight, applying cold or hot packs eases the strain on the back.
Not all back pain is caused by arthritis of the back. Muscle spasms unrelated to arthritis of the back, kidney, gall bladder and pancreatic problems also cause back pain. It may be related to some other pain, caused by something else. The effective treatment of back arthritis will depend on what is causing it, its severity and whether it is causing pressure on the spinal cord.
There are basically three common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis which affect almost around 16 million Americans with an average age of 45. Arthritis not only affects weight bearing joints like knees, hips, and ankles but has also been found in the fingers, neck and spine. The dense sponge like substance called cartilage which cushions each of our joints gradually gets worn down.
Various types of arthritis cure have been tried out. They range from the normal prescribed drugs to herbal and natural medications. They act differently for various individuals depending on the type of arthritis they have. Urtica dioica is a kind of stinging nettle that has been widely recommended as an effective arthritis cure. The practice is very ancient and dates back some 2,000 years to biblical times. The method is to grasp the nettles in a gloved hand and swat the sore joints with the nettles. Even though it may seem strange it has invariably produced some satisfying results.
Other herbs that are effectively used for arthritis cure are Bogbean, Celery seeds, Chapparal, Feverfew, Saffron, Yucca, Nettle etc.
Natural healing with food is a slow process. It requires patience and persistence. It can take several months to achieve results and sometimes conditions worsen before they improve. Recent studies suggest that a high intake of fruits vegetables and legumes along with certain oils help to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and aid in arthritis cure. Some of the improvements shown include a decrease in pain and inflammation and in the number of swollen joints. Further research suggested that more olive oil and cooked vegetables help protect people from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
A number of drugs are now available in the treatment of arthritis and related conditions. Prescription medications are considered a traditional treatment option. Response, potential drug side-effects and adverse reactions to a specific medication varies from individual to individual. It is important for the patient to be aware of their options and have the ability to discuss what they learn with their doctor and make correct decisions.
For arthritis sufferers, any exercise regimen brings a range of immediate benefits. The problem with arthritis patients is that they may have a tough time deciding what physical exercise regimen to embrace. This is because a majority of arthritis sufferers have to deal with nagging pain and stiffness of joints. In this scenario, walking is a physical activity that can be undertaken with little preparatory thought. Walking does not require peak physical form. And walking is an endurance exercise that brings innumerable benefits. Walking increases physical strength, maintains joint flexibility, aids in bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Myriad Benefits of Walking
Walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness, builds bone density, increases joint mobility and arrests muscle atrophy. These are reasons why walking is highly recommended for arthritis patients. Arthritis patients specially benefit because arthritis medication may lead to bone thinning. Walking halts further decay of joints and bones. In fact, walking may even reverse the progression of arthritis. Some may doubt the efficacy of plain walking in delivering high results and dismiss these as tall claims. However, there is mounting scientific evidence that strongly suggests that walking can indeed alleviate the pain of arthritis. Walking thus raises the pain threshold. Furthermore, walking improves the psychological profiles of arthritis sufferers so that they are better able to cope with the accompanying depression and fatigue. Obviously then, walking will considerably lessen the emotional pain of arthritis.
No wonder walking has been whole-heartedly embraced by many arthritis patients. A daily walking program is also endorsed by the medical fraternity. Arthritis patients reap many tangible and intangible benefits from the simple act of walking. Many arthritis sufferers are prone to eschew exercise because arthritis affects easy movement. However, walking will upgrade and improve the physical frame of an arthritis sufferer. The arthritis patient will notice a healthier weight chart; better sleep patterns; lowered pain; better physical stamina; and higher self-esteem. Besides, walking needs no special preparation or equipment; it is free and can be indulged in any time. Walking is an aerobic exercise that will simultaneously enhance musculoskeletal strength, the weight bearing capacity of joints and bones, and reduce the mental stress that is a constant with arthritis sufferers.
For the arthritis sufferer, swimming is the ideal form of exercise. Swimming is an aerobic exercise that also improves physical endurance. To put it succinctly, swimming allows a full range of motions in joints that are primarily affected in arthritis. Swimming also confers other allied benefits like better cardiovascular strength, and superior muscle coordination in arthritis patients. The upshot is that an arthritis sufferer is able to reap a slew of benefits by the simple act of treading water. The buoyancy of the water allows an arthritis sufferer to freely utilize all the joints that may be resistant to complete usage on land. The buoyancy of the water allows the arthritis sufferer to exercise in weightless conditions that don’t impact painful joints and bones.
Swim away arthritic aches
The best aspect of swimming is that it is a lifetime sport, a full body exercise that inadvertently tackles different pain origin sites of arthritis. Swimming is a low-impact, moderate, some claim even relaxing, exercise that can beneficial for arthritis patients. Especially warm water swimming is recommended for arthritis patients because it has been scientifically proved that it eases joint pain and relaxes sore muscles. Though warm water is more conducive to reducing arthritis pain, the stark truth is that even cold water swimming confers similar benefits. Variously known as hydrotherapy, aquatic therapy or water workouts, swimming for arthritis patients is a salutary physical activity. Many arthritis patients who may encounter problems exercising on land are perfectly comfortable in the buoyant conditions of a swimming pool.
Benefits of Aquatic Therapy
Aquatic therapy is one of the best forms of exercise for the chronic arthritis sufferer. For the duration of the swim, the aching joints and muscles are in a state of suspension, and the arthritis sufferer finds temporary alleviation from the constant pain that is a trademark of arthritis. Swimming not only provides transitory relief from the nagging pain that is the characteristic of arthritis, it also permits a full range of motion in joints and muscles that are normally stiff. This means incredible strengthening workouts that arrest further atrophy of essential muscle groups. Swimming has proved to be extremely advantageous for arthritis patients and is now regularly recommended by physicians to combat arthritis pain and joint and muscle disuse.
Arthritis is a painful disease which causes a severe pain in the joints. It causes stiffness and pain in joints can make a person disabled for life. To avoid or control the intensity of arthritis in the body weight control is a proper way out. Extra weight causes undue pressure and inflammation on the joints and muscles. Arthritis makes the joints and muscles weak, extra weight exaggerates the problem of arthritis by –pressurizing the weight bearing joints.
Reasons of Over Weight
- Body gains weight when calorie intake is mare than the calories that are used by the body.
- Activities that do not involve much physical work increases weight like watching television, working with computer for long hours.
- Over weight problem can be hereditary.
- Some diseases also causes over weight like if fracture has occurred in the leg then it will automatically lead to over weight.
- Poor eating habits and lack of exercise lead to over weight.
- People eat more when they are sad or get bored even when they are not hungry will lead to over weight.
Ways to Reduce the Weight
The rate of weight loss should be safe and steady. It should be half to two pounds per week.
- Food intake should be in intervals instead of eating at a time.
- Avoid the intake of food with lots of fat and calories.
- Food should be kept only in kitchen, rather than at other places like in bedroom and car.
- Exercise and yoga in the weight loss plan helps to great extend. It should be regular.
- Consult doctor to follow proper diet pattern which suits the body.
- Try to get walking break instead of tea break at work place.
Weight Loss and Arthritis
Healthy diet is the key to weight control. Medication and yoga help to control the appetite and weight of the body. If ideal weight is maintained then many health and arthritis problems can be solved. Reduction in weight reduces the pressure on the joints and muscles of the body. It will reduce the problem of arthritis.