Arthritis is commonly associated with back pains, joint and knees stiffness, and muscle aches. This is a disease of joint disorder that includes inflammation in and around the joints. It can cause stiffness and limit movement in the joint of the person suffering from the disease or can lead to being bedridden or home bound to those with severe cases. There are about 100 types of arthritis, the most common forms are:
Osteoarthritis- affects twice as many women as men and occurs mostly in women of advancing age. Trauma and injury are also risk factors. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative for of arthritis resulting from the breakdown of cartilage covering the ends of bones. This is most common in weight-bearing joints like spine, hips, and knees.
Lupus- or systemic lupus erythematosus, is autoimmune disease with no known cure. It is chronic and can be severely debilitating when left untreated, attacking the skin, nerves, kidneys, lungs, and heart, aside from the joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis- Seen mostly in women with a female-to-male ratio of about 3:1. This is also an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system inadvertently attacks a joint lining, usually in the wrist, fingers, elbow, shoulders, neck, knees, ankle, and feet, causing inflammation.
To treat arthritis, a long-term management by a qualified rheumatologist is needed. Medicines are available to treat various stages of arthritis like analgesics that include paracetamol and acetaminophen for pain relief. NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely prescribed to relieve both pain and swelling but can cause side effects like nausea and ulcers.
For more severe cases, surgery is recommended to replace a joint that is totally destroyed. There are also many people finding relief from adjunctive therapies like acupuncture. It is advised to do this as a complement to traditional medical treatment. Before the onset of arthritis, it is best to keep a healthy lifestyle, exercise to strengthen the muscles around the joints, increase flexibility, and burn the extra body weight that puts you at greater risk of osteoarthritis.