Arthritis is an increasingly common and chronic medical condition; it’s characterized by the Arthritic symptoms of pain and inflammation it causes to the human skeleton, particularly to the joints. Sadly, Arthritis is not uncommon, with over 40 million people in the United States living with the condition – most people are aware of someone suffering from the lifelong condition.
It’s important to clarify however, that there are in fact multiple different type of Arthritis which are characterized by a wide variety of symptoms. Although Arthritis is often associated with the elderly, the chronic disease can affect people of all ages.
Although there are numerous types of Arthritis, this article will focus upon reducing the pain of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, which happen to be most common forms of the painful affliction.
What Is Osteoarthritis & Why Does It Cause Pain?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of Arthritis affecting the populace of the western world; roughly 21 million of the 40 million people living with Arthritis in the United States have Osteoarthritis. In most cases of the disease’s progression, it tends to initially present itself in adults who are in their mid-40’s and on. Women are also more likely to be diagnosed with the condition, alongside those who have a family history of the disease.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by a disease progression that initially begins by affecting the smooth cartilage that lines the inside of your joints. As the diseases progresses, the damage to the smooth cartilage of your joints increases; as the joint’s cartilage becomes weaker and weaker, once simple movements become harder and harder – this increase in friction creates pain and inflammation at the affected site. As this process continues to progress, and movements become more and more difficult, inflammation increases and formations of bone begin to form known as osteophytes.
As Osteoarthritis progresses, and the longer it remains untreated, the more damage the condition can do to the human skeleton. As cartilage is progressively worn away by the disease, the likelihood of bone rubbing against bone is increased; when bones rub against one another, they have a tendency to force each other out of position – this creates poor posture, inflammation and inevitably more pain.
How Do I Reduce Osteoarthritis Pain?
As there is currently no cure for Osteoarthritis, or any forms of Arthritis as a matter of fact, it’s important that sufferers of the condition are aware of the multitude of treatments available for the condition – many of these treatments help sufferers to reduce the pain associated with the condition. That’s why one of the most frequently asked questions regarding Arthritis is: ‘How do I reduce Arthritis pain?’ Well look no further, as treatments that help to reduce the pain of Osteoarthritis include:
- Dietary Changes – There are a number of dietary changes you can begin to make that might help to reduce the pain Osteoarthritis causes. You’ll want to develop and experiment with your diet for three important reasons: to reduce inflammation in and prevent damage to the body, to reduce your cholesterol and to maintain a healthy weight. By tackling these three areas through your diet, you’ll be putting your body in the best possible position to fight the condition.
- Lifestyle Adjustments – If you’re suffering from Osteoarthritis, you’ll want to ensure that you are taking regular exercise, however you’ll also want to make sure that the exercise you take is conducive to treating your condition. Throw out high impact forms of exercise such as running and cycling, trading them in for calisthenic work outs and swimming. These exercises reduce the impact on your already struggling joints, encouraging supportive muscles to develop around them – they can also prevent Arthritis progressing too quickly.
- Topical Creams & Ointments – Topical Creams & Ointments for Osteoarthritis provide often short term but highly effective relief from the pain caused by the disease. Most of these topical arthritis creams use Salicylates to reduce inflammation, swelling and irritation around the affected joint. Arthritis Creams and Ointments are most effective on joints that are close to the surface of the skin.
- Medications – Thankfully there are plenty of prescription medications available to help treat Osteoarthritis, these include: Prescription NSAIDs, Steroidal Injections, Hyaluronic Acid Injections and Opioid based Pain Relief.
- Physiotherapy – Physiotherapy is a fantastic option for people suffering from Osteoarthritis. A physiotherapist will help to keep your joints mobile and fluid by prescribing you strength building and flexibility improving exercises for you to practice.
- Surgical Options & Procedures – There are a number of different surgical options available for treating Osteoarthritis that has progressed to a point where other treatments are no longer effective.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis & Why Does It Cause Pain?
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects around 1.5 million people in the United States. The auto-immune condition often presents itself initially in people between the ages of 40-50 years old; unfortunately, if you’re a woman you are 3x more likely to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis than a man. Other genetic factors also predispose the development of Rheumatoid Arthritis, such factors include whether or not you have a history of the condition in your family.
The progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis is quite different to other forms of Arthritis due to its nature as an auto-immune condition. Rheumatoid Arthritis is characterized by the involvement of the patient’s immune system in causing the condition; the immune system in someone suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis attacks the joints of the patient – this leads to swelling, inflammation and pain! With that being said, it’s also important to recognize that symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis aren’t isolated to the bone structure; symptoms can even begin to affect a multitude of organs and tissues.
With cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the disease seems to follow a similar progression. Initially the disease targets the outer covering, membrane and cartilage of the joints; however, as the condition progresses so does its targeting of the joint as a whole. As this targeting evolves to subsume the whole of the joint, the bone and cartilage start to come under more focused fire – this eventually leads to the joint affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis to begin to break down.
How Do I Reduce Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain?
Sadly, there is currently no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, let alone any other form of Arthritis, so it’s important that those suffering from the disease know how to reduce their pain. Thankfully there are plenty of treatment options available for those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, treatments that help to reduce the pain caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis include:
- Dietary Changes – In regards to diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis, you’ll want to be making dietary changes that focus upon reducing inflammation in your body, that reduce your cholesterol and that also help you maintain a healthy weight. One important distinction to make in regards to diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis, is that as Rheumatoid Arthritis is an Auto-Immune condition it is prone to periods of flaring up – these ‘flare-ups’ can often be caused by dietary factor, so it’s important you keep a food-diary to monitor whether any particular food groups exacerbate your condition.
- Lifestyle Adjustments – Exercise has been found across the broad spectrum of Auto-Immune conditions to help ease symptoms, with that being said as Rheumatoid Arthritis effects the joints you should be particularly careful not to cause further damage. Try to participate in exercise activities that aren’t high-impact; swimming and calisthenic exercises are brilliant for sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as they help supportive muscles develop around affected joints.
- Topical Creams & Ointments – The majority of Topical Arthritis Creams and Ointments are highly effective at providing brilliant short-term relief from the pain caused by the condition. The vast majority of these Topical Arthritis Creams and Ointments contains Salicylates, a substance effective at removing inflammation, swelling and irritation around the joint attacked by Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Medications – Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis include a combination of treatments from those used to treat Osteoarthritis, as well as the most effective treatments available for treating Auto-Immune conditions. Some of the medications available to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis include: NSAIDs, Steroids, Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs and Biological Drugs.
- Physiotherapy – Physiotherapy is recommended for all sufferers of Arthritic conditions. Physiotherapy helps maintain fluidity and flexibility in the joints affected by the condition. Your Physiotherapist will prescribe you a course of exercises to be completed every day, the aim of these exercises is to strengthen the supporting tissue around the join – hopefully reducing pain.
- Surgical Options & Procedures – Surgery remains an option for cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis that have progressed beyond the point of other forms of treatment. Surgery can help reduce the pain caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis, but it’s important that all other available treatment options are tried beforehand.