Arthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. While this degenerative disease is incurable, there are things that you can do to ease the pain and stiffness. Over 3 million people are diagnosed with arthritis every year in the United States alone.
If you suspect arthritis, you will need to confirm through a medical diagnosis as there are many different types of this disease. Some types of arthritis, such as. Rheumatoid Arthritis, will require a medical specialist to monitor your condition.
While there are some of the many types of arthritis that will need specialized treatment, there are certain activities and actions that can be undertaken to lessen the symptoms of this debilitating disease. It is important that you know what to expect and what to do.
If you have been recently diagnosed or suspect that you have arthritis, you’re not alone. Every year, three million men, women, and even children are diagnosed in the United States alone.
What are the signs and symptoms of Arthritis?
Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, a loss of range of motion, swelling or heat and redness in your joints. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see your doctor as only a medical doctor can confirm this diagnosis.
Risk factors for developing arthritis include family history, age, obesity, or if you have previous injuries. This condition can occur if you have had injuries to various joints due to sports, accidents, or other traumatic injuries.
If arthritis goes undiagnosed and untreated, the patient may experience deformity, worsening pain, and loss of function in various joints.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
Your medical doctor will diagnose your arthritis following a physical examination and imaging such as x-rays, CT Scans, MRIs, and occasionally ultrasound.
During your examination, your doctor will check the areas where you are experiencing pain. He or she will test your range of motion to see how you are being affected by your symptoms. They will take your medical history and ask questions about the medical conditions that your family members have. They may refer you to a specialist.
What treatments do doctors recommend for arthritis?
The best treatment for Arthritis is to remain active. If you can keep moving, stay hydrated, and balance your rest and activity, you can decrease the severity of your symptoms
Non-drug therapies such as chiropractic adjustment and physical therapy can help you feel better. You can also do meditation and yoga to help you relax. For immediate relief, hot packs or ice to the affected joints can help your pain.
Other alternative treatments such as massage and acupuncture can also provide relief of symptoms.
WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE IS BEST FOR ARTHRITIS AND WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED?
Any type of exercise where you can stretch and gently improve your range of motions without further damaging them. This includes water exercises, bicycling, walking, and low impact aerobics.
Exercises to avoid include running, tennis, jumping, and high-impact aerobics.
WHAT OTHER TYPES OF MEDICAL SPECIALISTS MIGHT I BE REFERRED TO?
You might be referred to a rheumatologist, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, or pain management specialist. This will all depend on the type of arthritis you have been diagnosed with and the extent of the damage to your joints.
ANY OTHER ADVICE?
Quitting smoking, losing weight, and don’t become fearful of your disease. Depression is common in Arthritis patients so do what will help you stay positive and optimistic. Hobbies such as drawing or writing can prove to be therapeutic and help you stay more upbeat.