Hello All, today we are going to look at Arthritis. Many people believe that arthritis disease is a medical condition experienced only by the elderly. However, a persistent backache, neck strain, or other painful conditions where the joints are concerned could very well be osteoarthritis.
OA is a common arthritis that can affect people of any age. In fact, with every type of arthritis, the area surrounding the joints including the elbows w, knees , and wrists can become very swollen and inflamed , red, and tender to the touch. In many incidences, there is also a warm sensation around the joints.
What is Arthritis
Causes of Arthritis
How is Arthritis Diagnosed
What does Arthritis feel like and how do you Know you have it
Foods that can help with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Exercises you can do at home
My Final Thoughts
What is Arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect any joint in the body. Are you aware there are over 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and different ways of treating them.
Two of the most common types are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which my mum suffers from and osteoarthritis (OA) which I have been diagnosed with.
The symptoms of arthritis generally appear over a long period, but they can also show up quite suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly found in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in people of any age even babies. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight or obese.
My diagnosis came when I was 49 and my mums around the same age.
Causes Of Arthritis
Normal wear and tear on the joints are the most common causes of OA, An injury or an infection in the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA can be significantly higher if you have other family members with the disease.
RA, is an autoimmune disorder. It happens when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. The immune system is there to protect the body from harm. These attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints, this is needed in order to move the joints.
RA is a disease of the synovium that will invade and destroy a joint. It can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint. It is the most painful of the two.
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
If you are suffering from a lot of pain in your joints the best thing to do is visit your doctor, Who will perform a physical exam ination to check for fluid around the joints, warm or red joints, and limited range of motion in the joints. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Seeing a Rheumatologist is the quickest way to get a diagnosis and be out of pain.
Specific Blood tests that check for types of antibodies like anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide), RF (rheumatoid factor), and ANA (antinuclear antibody) are also common diagnostic tests.
Other methods used are X-ray, MRI, and CT scans these produce images of your bones and cartilage. This is so they can rule out other causes such as bone spurs.
The main aim of the treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing by reducing inflammation and to prevent further damage to the joints.
You will learn what works for you in terms of pain control. Some prefer to use heating pads and ice packs. Others use mobility aids, like canes or walkers, to help to take the pressure off of the sore inflamed joints.
There are also specific exercises you can do to improve mobility and make life a little easier.
- Immunosuppressants like prednisone or cortisone help to reduce inflammation.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and salicylates, help control pain and inflammation. Salicylates can thin the blood, so they should be used very cautiously with additional blood thinning medications.
- Menthol or capsaicin creams to block the transmission of pain signals from your joints.
- Analgesics, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are also effective for pain management, but don’t help with inflammation.
- If you prefer a more natural approach, Supplements are another way of treating Arthritis
If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis your doctor may put you on a course of corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which suppress your immune system. This stops it from attacking the soft tissue. There are also many medications to treat OSteoarthritis on prescription and over the counter drugs.
Having a surgical procedure to replace your joint with an artificial one may also be an option. Knees and hips are the most common ones to be replaced.
If your arthritis is very severe in your wrists or fingers, your doctor might perform a joint fusion. In this procedure, the ends of your bones are locked together until they heal and become one.
What does arthritis feel like and how do you know you have it?
Osteoarthritis is a form of pain that gradually worsens over time. Unlike a major knee, wrist or back pain that happens suddenly and excruciating in an attack, osteoarthritis begins with a twinge and becomes worse over time.
Osteoarthritis feels more like an overall achiness or an acute pain in one or many of the areas Affected. Pain caused by osteoarthritis can also come and go, where you will feel normal and flexible for weeks or even months before the pain returns worse than ever.
You may have difficulty with movement
In addition to feeling stiff and achy, when getting up, you may also notice the inability to bend flexibly. Sometimes osteoarthritis sufferers find it difficult to arch their back or bend over because it triggers intense severe pain.
Many activities including dance, yoga or sports might become more challenging because of a limited range of motion and stiffness that only improves with exercise and stretching. The pain can move into different areas, where the neck might be sore on the first day, the shoulder the next day, and the other shoulder sometime later.
Numbness and Tingling
many people often believe they are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, When in fact it could be arthritis of the spine because of the similar symptoms. Arthritis often appears as a stiffness or sensation in the fingers, hands, and wrists, causing the loss of control of fine motor movements.
In addition, the condition can arise as numbness, tingling, or twinge radiating from the shoulder down through the arm. As a result of nerve compression, it may be that the individual feels pain in a specific area, or down the entire arm. The sensation is also known to come and go.
When people wonder exactly what does arthritis feel like, it is important to note that every sufferer can experience different symptoms, some may have weakness, numbness or pain in the legs, while others are presented with tingling and stiffness. Still, others might be experiencing aches and pains that mimic other degenerative diseases or conditions.
I have the added complication of Carpal tunnel and OA. The CT causes tingling and numbness in my fingers. The OA causes extreme pain.
Foods That Can Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis
studies have shown that eating less protein may help to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. By reducing the intake of such things as nuts, beans, and meats. On a 2000 calorie diet, for example, only 400 to 600 of those calories per day should be protein.
Eating a diet containing gluten, which are foods with wheat, barley, or rye in them may aggravate rheumatoid arthritis.
Trying a gluten-free diet can help to cleanse these toxins out of the system and may provide some relief to the condition.
You would also need to eliminate bread, wheat cereals as well as some coffee creamers (yes, wheat in a coffee creamer) and the patient should learn to read labels consistently.
Green and white teas have high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants in them. Raising these levels has been shown to reduce symptoms.
Exercises you can do at home
Exercises for Osteoarthritis
Low impact exercises for the hips such as, walking, yoga, swimming and using a stationary bike are great ways to strengthen your muscles and aid in movement and balance.
Other exercises you can do for specific body parts
Knees and hips.
- One-leg balance: Stand next to a chair or a sturdy table, and place one hand on it for support. Lift one leg and balance on the other leg for up to 15 seconds. As you get stronger, you can use one finger or let go of your support altogether. Repeat on the other side. Do 10 repetitions on each side.
- Sit to stand. Sit in a chair. Slowly stand up, and sit back down again without using your hands for support. Concentrate on keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees over your feet. If you need help, use the armrests to lower yourself down. Repeat for 30 seconds or longer if you feel able to.
- Mini wall squats. Stand with your head and back against the wall. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down slightly, so that your knees bend at a 30-degree angle. Press back up to stand. Repeat 10 times, if you can do 15 or 20 repetitions then go ahead.
- Sitting knee flexing. Sit on the edge of a chair. (Making sure the chair is stable and won’t tip over.) Lift one knee and place your shin in your hands. Gently pull your shin toward your thigh. Hold for 5 to 6 seconds; lower back to the ground. Switch sides. Repeat at least 10 times.
- Make a C or an O
Move your fingers like you’re going to grab a little ball, and try to form a shape of a C or an O. Go as far as you can (an O would be making a complete circle with your fingers and thumb). Straighten your fingers and repeat this 10 times and then swap hands.
- Bend your fingers
Stretch your hand in front of you, palm up. Then take each finger and move it very slowly to the center of your palm. Hold it, then straighten. Repeat this 10 times and then swap hands.
Have your hand in a loose fist with the small finger side of your hand on a table. Then point your thumb to make the thumbs up sign, put it down, and repeat. 10 times with each thumb.
I have a great deal of pain in my thumbs and some times limited movement, I find this exercise helps a great deal. “Bend your thumb toward your palm—try to reach your little finger and if you can’t, go as far as you can, hold and then start again.” Repeat 10 times with each hand.
Make a fist
Make a fist and then open your hand and stretch out your fingers as far as you can, hold this position for 10 seconds, do this 10 times for each hand.
Lie on the floor with a rolled-up towel under your neck. Your head should still be touching the floor.
Slowly bring your chin toward your chest.
Hold for a count of 5 and then relax for 10 seconds.
Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Sit in a hard chair, or stand up straight if you prefer.
Keep your chin level, turn your head to the right, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Turn your head to the left and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 to 5 times to each side.It’s best for you to start exercising very slowly, 10 minutes a day would be a good amount of time. If you feel lots of pain then stop immediately.
My Final Thoughts
Having Arthritis can be a very pain full experience. If you can eat a balanced diet with the recommended foods and do a gentle exercise regime you will find it eases the pain and helps with mobility and strength.
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Take great care of yourself because you are worth it.
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