Arthritis is a common chronic illness that's characterized by joint pains. The CDC reports that over 23% of Americans have this condition. It is the number one cause of work disability and can cost an average of $303.5 billion in lost earnings annually. This is because the majority of those with this illness are of working age (18-64). It also affects people in various ways, from minor discomforts to debilitating pain.
What is Arthritis?
It's a popular misconception that arthritis is one type of musculoskeletal condition, but it is actually the umbrella term used when referring to varying joint pains and issues. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and can affect everyone at any point in time. The common symptoms are inflammation, pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. These manifestations can come and go or can be a constant presence. They can also worsen over time.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, or suspect that you might have arthritis, it is important to seek a professional to get a proper diagnosis. Though there is no cure for the condition, getting treatment as early as possible can help relieve the discomfort and can slow down the worsening of your condition. One way to treat the swelling is to take a prescription of Sulfasalazine. As it is an anti-inflammatory drug, lots of doctors consider it the first line of defence for rheumatic arthritis. Physical therapy is another great way to manage arthritis since the intervention involves passive and active exercises which can target pain relief and improvement of range of motion. Many people with joint problems undergo this because it is shown to be highly effective.
What causes arthritis?
Common causes for this illness are genetics, physical activity, and primary diseases that can affect the joints. If your family has a history of arthritis, you may develop it in the future. Being involved in high-impact physical activity like sports or manual labour can cause stress on your joints, too. This may result in a higher likelihood of developing joint conditions, including arthritis. Lastly, arthritis can be a secondary symptom of autoimmune diseases like Lupus and Systemic Scleroderma.
Common arthritis myths
Though it is a highly researched condition, there are still some misconceptions surrounding the disease. Here are some facts that will counter the myths surrounding arthritis, its causes, and its treatments:
People with Arthritis Shouldn’t Exercise
Many think that because they have arthritis, any physical activity will trigger their pain, but this is far from the truth. As mentioned earlier, physical therapy is a common method of treatment for the condition, and that involves complex motions. In fact, exercising can have the same benefits. The American College of Rheumatology mentions how low-intensity workouts are actually great for managing symptoms of the illness and should be part of the routine for someone with arthritis. Not only can this help with the pain, but it will also lead to better overall health. Although, it's best to limit workouts that have a high impact on joints as these may trigger flare-ups.
Cracking Your Knuckles Can Lead to Arthritis
An old wives' tale says that cracking your knuckles, or any joint for that matter, can lead to arthritis. However, this has been proven false by many health and scientific experts over the years. SymptomFind features information stating that the popping sound that occurs when cracking your joints, is in fact caused by pockets of gas within the fluids by your joints. The process of doing so is also just you setting your bones back into their rightful place, and it's not doing any harm to your joints. Many studies have found no relationship between this habit and developing the condition later in life. Though it still isn’t good to do frequently because it can cause very minor damage to your tissues that if done too often, can cause problems. But it definitely is not a major concern for developing arthritis.
Hot Compresses are Better for Managing Pain
Many people think that when they are having arthritis pains, they should only use a hot (or warm) compress to soothe it. While this does help, this isn’t always the case—especially if the pain is caused by inflammation. While heat can relax tense muscles and joint stiffness, it's actually the cold that can lessen swelling in areas around the joint. Since arthritis pain is often caused by inflammation, it can be best to try using a cold compress rather than a warm one. The cooler temperature would be able to target the root cause of the pain more effectively.
Diet Has No Role in Arthritis Management
It is common knowledge that one’s diet can affect their overall health. This is true even for those who have arthritis. There are some foods and ingredients that can trigger swelling, which is something those with the condition should avoid. Arthritis Health lists some of these as red meat, Omega-6 fatty acids, high-dairy products, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, sugar, and processed food. This is because they contain factors that trigger the body to swell, leading to worse symptoms. Clean and healthy eating is part of managing many chronic illnesses and arthritis is no exception to this.
With the right treatment, arthritis is manageable. If you or someone you know may be experiencing suspicious joint pains, contact your doctor to seek medical advice. For more information do visit us at Health Linear.