Arthritis is a very common condition but it’s not well-understood. In fact, “arthritis” is not just one disease. It can be one of over a hundred diseases, but is a general team used to refer to joint pain. Arthritis can happen to anyone at any age.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention names arthritis as the leading cause of work disability in the United States, affecting 1 in 4 of 54.5million US adults and 300,000 children. However, it occurs more frequently as one grows older. As the most common cause of chronic pain in the country, it is also the most common chronic condition in the US.
Symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. It’s unpredictable as symptoms come in go in varying levels of severity. The chronic pain can make it difficult for one to perform daily activities and may even cause permanent joint changes.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Cartilage, the cushioning material at the ends of bones, would wear away and bone rubs against bone. This causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Bones also lose their strength over time and pain can become chronic.
Age isn’t the only factor that contributes to arthritis or its symptoms. Risk factors include a previous joint injury, excess weight, and family history. Every pound of excess weight adds 4 pounds of pressure on the knees, and could cause further damage to already affected knees.
Thankfully, there are means to manage mild or moderate pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Preventative measures include:
Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce pressure on joints
Regular physical activity to exercise joints
Exercising to strengthen muscles surrounding affected areas
Avoiding excessive repetitive actions to avoid strain
Resting in between physical activity
Using assistive devices
Meanwhile, one can also ease the pain with the following:
Using hot and cold therapy
Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
If joint pain becomes severe, it can seriously impact your quality of life. Other ways you can manage the pain is to have a healthy diet that strengthens your joints, bones, and muscles.
Osteoarthritis can also be prevented from the onset using the same methods: maintain a healthy weight, make sure you get your required nutrients, avoid injury, and minimize repetitive movements.
You can make the most of your golden years if you keep your body healthy and strong. Arthritis doesn’t have to be a persistent part of your life if you’re mindful!