Arthritis; What is it anyway?
Arthritis is a health condition in which its name is derived from Greek: “arthron”, meaning a joint, and “itis”, meaning inflammation. According to The Arthritis Society there are over one hundred types of arthritis but for simplicity sake, there are basically two categories of arthritis, inflammatory and degenerative.
Almost any joint in the body can be affected by inflammatory arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis can start in many ways but the most common is a slow onset of stiffness and joint pain (in one joint) that spreads over a period of weeks or months affecting other joints. In some cases, it can even start rapidly.
Synovium is a thin layer of tissue that lines every joint in the body and it is responsible for creating small amounts of fluid to maintain normal joint lubrication. For reasons yet to be conclusively determined when inflammatory arthritis starts the body’s immune system turns against the synovium and attacks it. The immune system then releases chemicals that cause stiffness, pain and eventually can damage or destroy the bone and cartilage.
For some individuals it doesn’t seem to take that long to become a chronic problem that has a lifelong impact. Each person is different and what pain remedies work for one may not work for another.
Rheumatoid arthritis falls under this category of arthritis and it tends to mostly affect the smaller joints in the feet and hands. Other forms of inflammatory arthritis include:
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Systemic lupus erythematous
Those between the ages of 30 and 60 tend to get these types of arthritis the most although any one of these can start at any age. The common morning stiffness symptom can last over one hour.
Some people are afflicted with degenerative arthritis and this occurs when (over time) the cartilage becomes rough and wears away. As a result of this, the bone thickens and the affected joint becomes inflamed causing pain, swelling and even a feeling of warmth.
Cartilage plays an important role in the body as it is the tough elastic-like material that covers the ends of our bones creating a protective shield. In a healthy person, the cartilage is somewhat like a shock absorber when weight is applied; it also creates a lubricated surface so that the joints can move with ease.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of degenerative arthritis and generally affects the joints at the base of the big toe, knees, hips, fingers and at the base of the thumb. A person with OA may notice some stiffness in the affected area and it tends to last up to twenty minutes. As the joints get used throughout the day the discomfort level increases.
Another form of degenerative arthritis is degenerative disc disease. This or OA starts slow in the body and within a period of months or even years, gets worse.
After a diagnosis by a health professional, he or she can then best suggest what treatment options are best depending on several factors. If discovered in the early stages the good news is that treatment options more than likely include non-medication therapies that include:
- Glucosamine Sulphate
- Relaxation techniques
Prescription medications or over-the-counter medications tend to only cover the symptoms and the pain as opposed to strategies to effectively minimize (and in some cases eliminate) symptoms.
Implementing a holistic approach to help manage symptoms and pain is important when looking for treatment options. There are many options to consider in order to tailor a treatment plan specific to each individual. Diet is very important when managing pain and therefore must be part of a successful treatment program. There are also other rehabilitation solutions that are available at a chiropractic and physiotherapy office such as Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill.
For some people there are several pain management techniques that can be explored in order to minimize or even eliminate the need for medications. Often medications come with a long list of side effects that can do more harm than good and this must be taken into consideration in any treatment plan.
If you suffer with any form of arthritis, Chiro-Med Rehab Clinic in Richmond Hill has a walk-in clinic conveniently located at 10144 Yonge Street, just north of Major MacKenzie Drive in the heart of Richmond Hill. The health professionals at Chiro-Med can help you examine what options are available in order for you to live as pain-free as possible. Drop on by or call 905-918-0419 for more information or to book a consultation.