Living With and Treating Your Arthritis

Every day aches and pains can be commonplace. Unfortunately, sometimes these minor pains can manifest themselves into arthritis. This inflammation of the joints can even become debilitating and cause deformity to sufferers. Arthritis is identified with joint pain and stiffness and can reduce quality-of-life for those afflicted. Sadly, these symptoms usually become worse with age. Some cases can be mild, but arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. This is typically a disease that affects older people, but children can also be impacted. While there are many types of arthritis, the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Determining which type you have will dictate your treatment.

Osteoarthritis

This is the most common form of arthritis and can affect all the joints in the body. The most susceptible are the weight-bearing joints (knees, back, and pelvis). Normally caused by everyday wear and tear, and injury can also contribute to its onset. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage in the joint and can cause erosion to the point where bone is rubbing against bone. This condition can start as minor can during activity, to constant pain while even sitting or resting. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, so a combination of therapy and painkillers can help it from progressing. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and joint stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the lining and cartilage in the joint. This attack causes fluid to build up in the joint and causes pain and inflammation. It commonly attacks the joints in the fingers, hands, and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to severe deformity in the affected joint areas if not treated.

Living With and Treating Your Arthritis

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

While the majority of arthritis cases affect the elderly, children can be affected by this disorder. Thousands of children are diagnosed with arthritis every year. This is also an autoimmune disease, much like rheumatoid arthritis. Eye inflammation, growth retardation, and joint deformity are all complications that can arise from juvenile arthritis.

Gout

Gauty arthritis is caused by uric acid buildup in the joint. This can lead to swelling and pain in the affected joint. While normally affecting one joint, it can spread to other joints and be quite painful.

Treatments

The type of treatment arthritis sufferers choose is dependent upon the type and severity of the affliction. It’s important to always consult a doctor before choosing a method of treatment. One of the courses of action is to take medication. Analgesics such as acetaminophen, tramadol, and narcotics containing oxycodone and hydrocodone can help reduce pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are available over-the-counter. Some NSAIDs can be found in cream form and applied directly onto the joint. Counter irritants contain menthol, camphor, or capsaicin (the stuff that makes peppers hot) to interrupt the pain signals from the affected joint. They work differently than other pain relievers in that they stimulate rather than depress sensory receptors. Corticosteroids contain cortisone and prednisone to suppress the immune system and can be rubbed directly onto the joint or injected by a doctor. Arthritis sufferers can also use heat pads to deliver moist heat to achy joints. Gloves and braces provide mild compression to help with circulation and pain relief. Products like Flexall and Biofreeze are pain relieving gels readily available. Exercise, especially in young children, can help alleviate some of the pain associated with arthritis.

Arthritis Aids

Since there is no cure for arthritis, persons affected by this affliction may need ways to make everyday chores easier. Arthritis can make opening bottles, jars, and other containers difficult. Using a medication lid opener can help somebody affected by arthritis open their prescription bottle. The manufacturer Sammons offers an Arthritis Kitchen Kit that offers everyday kitchen tools specially designed for sufferers of arthritis. This includes an ergonomically designed lid opener, utensils, and bottle opener improving the quality of life for people affected by arthritis.

 

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