Chronic pain of arthritis can last three to six months or longer, but arthritis pain, in general, may last a lifetime. The pain may come on & off or may be constant. There are multiple ways to manage chronic arthritis pain effectively. Keep reading to know all about arthritis, its causes, symptoms, and how to alleviate the discomfort and fight against your chronic pain.
What Is Arthritis?
The word arthritis means joint inflammation, and it can affect one or more joints.
Many types of arthritis are identified, but two major and common types of arthritis commonly observed are as below.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Some other types of arthritis are:
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Autoimmune diseases become overactive and affect surrounding tissues and joints causing swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints and extreme fatigue
- Gout: This is a common form of arthritis that often affects one big toe joint in your foot. And, repeated bouts of gout can lead to gouty arthritis.
- SLE: It is an autoimmune disease that attacks the patient’s very own tissues causing inflammation. It affects joints tissue, skin, and multiple organs.
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A few more types of arthritis are Fibromyalgia, Ankylosing spondylitis, and many more.
It is the disease in which cartilage is affected (the slippery material that covers the ends of bones, gradually breaks down). Due to overweight or pressure, cartilage gets squeezed between the bones, and the cushions present in joints reduces greatly. As a result, bones rub against each other causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in motions.
Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis:
Here are some common risk factors which may cause osteoarthritis.
- Family history
- Being overweight
- A lack of exercise
- Prior joint injuries
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
Here are some common symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Deep-aching Pain
- Stiffness (particularly morning stiffness that typically lasts less than 30 minutes).
- A loss of function
- Difficulty in bending joints or squatting
- Difficulty in climbing stairs.
- Inability to move through a full motion.
- Joints are warm to touch.
- Consult to a healthcare professional if any signs of these are experienced.
How It is Diagnosed?
- It can be diagnosed through a combination of clinical history.
- Patient Examination.
- Other tests, such as fluid examination from joints, are sometimes used.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis:
Here are some effective treatments for osteoarthritis which may offer relief to the patient and improve his/her quality of life.
- Intra-articular steroids
- Altered activity
- Walking aids
- Replacement arthroplasty
2. RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS:
An autoimmune disorder in which the self-immune system starts attacks its very own tissue including joints and bones is rheumatoid arthritis. It leads to inflammation and causes severe joint damage. It often affects joints, such as knuckles, elbows, or heels.
Risk Factor for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Here are some common risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis.
- The wrist and finger joints are known to be affected.
- If one hand is affected, the other one is also (symmetrical condition) affected.
- It can be last for days to years if not treated.
- At any age, it can occur.
- It can affect other parts of the body, not only the joints.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Here are some common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Fatigue, sometimes fever, not feeling well.
- Morning stiffness
- Symmetrical pattern
- Usually affect multiple joints, such as the wrist, elbows, shoulder, knees, ankles, feet, jaw, and neck
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling that last for 30 minutes after a long rest.
Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Here are some common tests which help diagnose the condition.
- Physical examination.
- Blood test i.e. CBC, ESR, ANA, RF, Anti-CCP, etc.
Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Here are some common treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Topical medications
- Steroids orally
Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Here are some exercises which can help minimize the pain and discomfort and improve the quality of life of the patient.
- Exercise is the best form of treatment for arthritis and its prevention.
- Exercise strengthens the muscular support which surrounds the joints.
- It maintains the joints’ mobility and functions.
- Increases flexibility and endurance.
- Helps control weight.
Types of Exercise for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Here are some types of exercise which can help you obtain relief in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Strengthening exercise
- Aerobic exercises, walking, bicycle, and swimming
- Helps in maintaining normal joints movement and increases joint flexibility
- Improvement of muscles strength
Management and Self-Home Care:
Here are some arthritis management and self-home care tips for patients to follow.
- Hot pack: Using a hot pack or moist heat pad helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation.
- Cold pad: Cold pad or icing is quite beneficial in minimizing the pain. Cold compression for just 15 – 30 minutes gives an immediate result.
- Massage: Massage helps to ease the pain.
- Meditation: Medication is simple to do but extremely beneficial to your health. It gives you confidence and makes you calm. Use meditation to cope with the pain.
- Nutrient-rich diet: Foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D3, and Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in helping you obtain relief.
- Manage your weight: Being overweight can cause pressure on the weight-bearing joints and the surroundings which send out chemical signals that increase inflammation.
- Stay fit and active: Activities, such as walking, jogging, running, yoga, and water aerobics, can help you improve the flexibility and strength of your joints and reduce the joints pain. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist to find out what may be best for you.
- Never give up: Always keep a positive and never give up attitude. Find ways to keep your mind busy by doing things you enjoy.
- Medications: Pain-reducing medications, such as analgesics, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-rheumatic drugs, corticosteroids, can help for short-term relief.
- Herbs: Capsaicin and turmeric may help fight arthritic pain and inflammation.
- Supplements: Vitamin C and fish oil help to reduce the pain.
- Avoid salt, sugar, fried foods, and white flour baked goods, as these may flare-up your joints pain because these stimulate your body’s inflammatory response.
- Limit the intake of foods containing omega-6 fatty acids
- Dairy products may trigger inflammatory conditions, so you need to limit the intake of dairy products.
Highlighted factors to be considered for taking treatment for arthritis depends on:
- The severity of the pain
- Types of inflammatory arthritis
- The presence of residual inflammation
- Patient’s preference
So, consult your doctor, as the clinical presentation and history are very important factors for further treatment. Homeopathy plays a very important role in the management of chronic arthritis.
You can count on Homeopathic treatment for long-lasting relief, as it offers a natural, reliable, and holistic approach to treat the condition. Homeopathy is strongly recommended for reducing all the symptoms and intensity of the joint pain. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help manage pain, improve functions, and slow the degenerations. Follow all these tips to help you feel better, manage the symptoms, and improve your quality of life.
- Written by Dr. Jyoti Kumari, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah