In the UK, approximately 10 million people are known to suffer from some degree of arthritis, irrespective or age and gender. Arthritis is an inflammation of joint that causes pain, stiffness and swelling. Typically, there are two common types of arthritis viz. Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis affects nearly 8 million people in the UK, while rheumatoid arthritis affects roughly 400,000 people. Both the diseases often develop in adults after the age of 40.
It is more common in females and people with familial history of osteoarthritis. It affects the smooth cartilage, tendons and ligaments of the joint. The swelling is caused by formation of osteophytes (bony spurs). The commonly affected joints include hands, spine, knees and hips.
This condition occurs when your body’s own immune system causes inflammation of joints. The outer layer of the joints is affected, which is followed by swelling and deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to breakdown of bone and cartilage.
Signs and Symptoms
Arthritis is an incurable disease. However, it is treatable with effective medicines and physical therapy. Physicians prescribe painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to treat osteoarthritis. In advanced cases, surgical interventions are advised, such as joint replacement, joint fusion or bone removal (osteotomy).
Rheumatoid arthritis is treated with utmost care. The aim is to prevent the condition from aggravating. Conventional painkillers, physiotherapy and regular exercise help manage pain, stiffness and swelling. Additionally, patients require anti-rheumatic drugs.
Physical therapy is a commonly recommended treatment for arthritis. It really helps in long-term management of pain. Physical activities help strengthen your joints that are damaged and weakened by inflammation. Moreover, it helps reduce the joint stiffness, thereby increasing the mobility and flexibility in the joints. It is important that you continue performing exercises in order to prevent stiffness.
Alternate cold and warm application at home can help reduce the pain and inflammation in many cases.
Managing arthritis often means using a combination of medicines and physical therapies. Talk to you doctor about the best pain management options!