Arthritis pain can be chronic and debilitating for those afflicted with the disease. Symptoms and the severity of symptoms can vary based upon the type of arthritis and how far the disease has progressed. While there is no cure for arthritis, several treatment options are available. Arthritis treatment can alleviate many of the symptoms of the disorder as well as slow its progression.
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis pain is caused by an inflammation within one or more joints. Inflammation and arthritis symptoms typically worsen over time. The two most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both forms of the disease present similar symptoms, including:
- Pain in the afflicted areas.
- Stiffness in the afflicted areas.
- Swelling of the joints.
- Redness around the joints.
- A decreased range of motion in afflicted joints.
Osteoarthritis pain occurs when cartilage, a protective tissue that covers the ends of bones where the joints are formed, begins to break down. This causes bones to rub together, degrading tissue further and causing many of the symptoms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects joints within the spine, hips, hands and knees.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of joints rather than the cartilage. While the disease works differently than osteoarthritis, symptoms of the disease, including pain, are similar to that of other forms of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis generally begins in smaller joints, such as those found in the toes, feet, fingers or hands. However, the disease often spreads to other areas such as the wrists, elbows, hips, ankles and knees. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis typically affects both sides of the body in the same joints at the same time.
Causes of Arthritis Pain
Before learning about arthritis treatment, it is important to learn more about the causes of arthritis as well as preventative measures that you can take to reduce your risk for the disease. While anyone can develop arthritis, there are certain risk factors that will increase your likelihood of developing the disorder.
Arthritis risk factors include:
- A family history of arthritis. Most types of arthritis are linked to genetic causes. The risk of developing arthritis is considered highest when a parent or sibling has the disease.
- Age. The risk of arthritis increases with age as the disease primarily develops in middle to late adulthood.
- Gender. Statistically, women are far more likely to develop certain types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
- Previous injuries. Previous injuries to a joint, such as an injury sustained in a sport, increase the risk of developing arthritis later in life.
- Obesity. Obesity greatly increases a person’s risk of developing arthritis due to excess weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on joints that are affected by arthritis, particularly on the spine, hips and knees.
If you have not yet developed arthritis pain, you can reduce your risk of developing the disorder in several ways. However, there is no way that you can guarantee that you will not develop a form of arthritis. You can reduce your risk factors for arthritis by committing to preventative measures such as:
- Adding more fish to your diet. Studies have suggested that the Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish may lower your risk of arthritis due to the health benefits the Omega-3s offer, including a reduction of inflammation throughout the body.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your chance to develop arthritis due to the stress that excess weight puts on your joints. You can reduce your risk factors by getting down to and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Engaging in routine exercise and strength training. Staying active and engaging in a routine exercise routine can significantly reduce your risk for arthritis. Additionally, engaging in strength training can strengthen the muscles around your joints, providing further protection against wear and tear.
- Protect your joints from injury. By using appropriate safety equipment when playing a sport and utilizing the correct techniques when lifting, sitting or working, you can better protect your joints from arthritis caused by injury.
Depending on the type of arthritis, you may need arthritis medication to curb the progression of the disease and alieve some of the symptoms that you may be experiencing. However, in order to obtain treatment, you must be diagnosed by a physician. A diagnosis may be provided after a physical exam or imaging testing, such as an ultrasound or x-ray.
Learn About Arthritis and Joint Pain Remedies
If you have arthritis in hands or any other joint, it is important to learn about treatment options that may be available to you that can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with arthritis, including pain and stiffness.
The most common form of joint pain remedies is medication. Several medications have been developed for arthritis in order to alleviate symptoms and slow or halt the progression of the disease. Additionally, natural treatment for arthritis, such as weight loss, physical therapy and exercise, can be incredibly beneficial. Weight loss is also highly effective in reducing arthritis pain in those who are overweight.
If non-invasive arthritis treatment proves to be ineffective, surgical options may be available, depending on the severity of your arthritis. A number of surgical procedures can be performed to provide relief, including joint fusion, joint replacement and joint repair procedures.
Diet for Arthritis Treatment
Following an arthritis treatment diet can reduce inflammation, thus, reducing the pain associated with the disorder. Experts recommend a diet that is low in processed foods and saturated fat. Additionally, there are a number of foods that have shown to be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of arthritis, including:
- Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as seafood.
- Nuts and seeds, including walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pine nuts.
- Fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale and broccoli.
- Two to three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily.
- Beans, including red kidney beans and pinto beans.
- Whole grains, including whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa.
Arthritis pain may worsen when eating certain foods, including nightshade vegetables, such as eggplants, tomatoes, red bell peppers and potatoes.