There are over 100 types of arthritis. This potentially debilitating condition mostly affects older women, however, it can happen to anyone at any age, of any gender or any ethnic background. Arthritis starts out infrequent and over time can become persistent and chronic with pain ranging from mild to severe. Luckily, there are many ways to alleviate the pain so that you can experience a better quality of life.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis comes in many forms. However, the most common osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease, affects the joints. As you age, the surrounding cartilage begins to wear, causing bone to bone grinding. When this happens, the affected area begins to stiffen, swell and cause you pain. As it progresses, you can lose your full range of motion and have a crippling effect wherein it can cause the area to disfigure. This is mostly present if you develop arthritis in the hands and fingers. Another common arthritis is rheumatoid. This type develops as a result of your own immune system working against you and begins to attack the joints. Since it presents many of the same symptoms as osteoarthritis, it can be hard to self-diagnose. Because there are so many different types of arthritis, seeking the assistance of a qualified professional will help to identify it correctly and then let you explore your treatment options.
Ways to Manage Your Arthritis
If your symptoms are infrequent and range from mild to moderate, there are several things you can do to reduce the pain and discomfort without the need for taking prescription medications. Hot and cold therapy treatments prove effective for many who experience these symptoms and they are relatively inexpensive. Taking warm showers, relaxing in a whirlpool or placing a heating pad directly against the area can help alleviate stiffness. Cold treatments like ice packs, frozen vegetables, or gel packs can help reduce swelling and pain. Staying fit is also beneficial to managing it. There are also over-the-counter creams like Arthritis Wonder that penetrate deep to offer fast, temporary relief of pain. If you are even a few pounds overweight, it can cause stress on the joints, therefore regular exercise can help to keep the body limber, toned and strong. If the work you do requires a constant repetitive movement, this can also have an impact on your life. If possible, try to avoid situations where you must repeat the same movement often. Additionally, using aids to get around like a cane, grab bar or a walker can help avoid an injury.
What Your Doctor May Recommend
If your home remedy treatment options fail to alleviate the pain of arthritis and reduce inflammation, your doctor may prescribe medications. Since there are always side effects, most doctors will explore every other option first, before prescribing a prescription drug. However, when all else fails, getting relief from the pain is the goal. Your physician may also do a biopsy to see the area up close and personal to make a determination as to whether or not surgery proves to be the best choice.
Arthritis can reduce your quality of life one day at a time until you find yourself virtually home-bound. Before it gets to that state, make sure to monitor your progress along with your doctor. This way you’ll stay ahead of the potentially debilitating condition and get the right treatments as needed, leaving the door open to possibly surgery as the end game to stabilize the disease and allow you to live pain-free thereafter.