Millions of people suffer from arthritis or joint problems. According to the arthritis Foundation in Atlanta there are more than 100 different types of arthritis with many causes. Of these the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus.
Arthritis is the inflammation occurring in one or more joints in the body. The word arthritis comes from the Greek word “arthron’ meaning “joint” and the Latin word “itis” meaning “inflammation”. This disease affects the musculoskeletal system or the joints. Arthritis is the main cause of disability in people over 55 years of age. Arthritis affects people in different ways. The effect may change according to the type of arthritis and how long the patient is affected by arthritis. Patients suffer from pain in the joints, stiffness of the joints, discomfort and fatigue.
The Cause Of Arthritis
To understand the cause of the arthritis it is necessary to know about the structure of the joints.
- In human body, one bone moves over the other in joints.
- The ligaments are responsible for holding the bones.
- These ligaments work like elastic bands and help keep the bones in position.
- The muscles relax and contract to make the joint move.
- To prevent the two bone surfaces from rubbing with each other there are cartilage covers.
- The cartilage cover helps the joints to work smoothly and without pain.
- The joint is covered by a capsule and it contains synovial fluid which nourishes the cartilage.
When you have arthritis some changes occur in these joints depending on the type of arthritis that has affected you. The cartilage might wear away, the synovial fluid will be lacking, or your body starts attacking itself (autoimmunity).
Types Of Arthritis
As said earlier there are different varieties of arthritis and the most commonly found are
In this type of arthritis the cartilage loses the elasticity and it gets damaged. The cartilage is the shock absorber in the joints. When it wears away the tendons and ligaments attached to the bones get stretched causing pain in the joints. Later the bones start to rub over each other causing severe pain
In this arthritis inflammation of the joints occurs as the synovial membrane is damaged. If untreated this type of arthritis can lead to deformities. This type of arthritis is most common in women and affects the patient when they are 40-60 years of age. In some cases children as well as older people are also affected by it. The patients have a higher risk of blood clots.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
This affects children aged 16 or below. There are different types of juvenile arthritis. The important ones are
• Systemic JRA
This is caused by the infection of the tissues and synovial fluid of the joints. People who are already having some form of arthritis are more susceptible to infectious arthritis.
The Symptoms Of Different Types Of Arthritis
Each type of arthritis has different symptoms. The main symptoms of the some of the most common arthritis are given below
In this type the symptoms appear slowly and gets worse as the time goes by. The main symptoms include
- Pain in the joints during or after the use of the joints
- Pain in the joints after a period of inactivity
- Tenderness of the joints
- Stiffness of joints especially in early morning
- Difficulty in using the joints due to lost flexibility
- Presence of hard lumps or bone spurs
- Commonly affected joints are hands, knees, hips, spine
The symptoms appear in smaller joints at first and then spread to the larger joints as the arthritis progresses.
- Problems in several joints at the same time
- Some joints on each side of the body becomes swollen and painful
- Pain and stiffness worst on waking up in the morning and lasts for at least 30 minutes
- Joints are red and puffy
- Presence of rheumatoid nodules under the skin of arms
- Weight loss
- Commonly affected parts are arms, legs, wrists and fingers
- It can spread to elbows, knees, hip, neck, shoulders, jaw etc
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
The patient will be a child and the common symptoms include
- Blotchy rashes on the arms and legs
- The child may limp or have a sore wrist, knee or finger
- Intermittent fever which peaks in the evening and suddenly disappear
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sudden swellings in some joints
- Stiff neck, hip or other joints
This is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungal infections which spread to the joint through the blood stream from the infected tissues
- Fever along with inflammation and swelling of joints
- Tenderness and sharp pain in the joints
- Only one joint is affected
- Commonly affected areas are shoulder, knee, wrist, elbow, finger
How To Live With Arthritis?
As there is no complete cure for arthritis the person should learn how to live with arthritis. The diseases can make the daily tasks difficult for the patient. There are many home remedies for arthritis. These remedies help you to control the symptoms and lead a quality life. Following a sedentary lifestyle will increase the difficulties. Following the home remedies will help you to reduce the overall effect of the arthritis. Physical therapy and occupational therapy will be effective in people with severe arthritis who finds it difficult to move the joints. Both movements and rest are important for arthritis patients.
Simple Home Remedies For Arthritis
Here are some of the home remedies for arthritis which will help you to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the disease and helps you to be more active.
This is one of the best home remedies for reducing the symptoms of arthritis. Reducing your weight will reduce the strain on your weight bearing joints and this will help in increasing your mobility and in preventing future damages to your joints. For every pound you reduce there will be 4 pounds less pressure on your knee. According to Roy Altman, MD, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of California the symptoms of arthritis in some people disappear if they lose 10- 20 pounds.
Physical activity is a must for people with arthritis. You can opt for the activity according to your age and severity of the problem. If you are an old person, you can opt for walking at a moderate pace and if you are younger and in better shape can opt for swimming. Exercises can keep your joints more flexible. Swimming and water aerobics are the best option as the buoyancy of the water helps it easy to exercise in water. Water reduces the stress on the joints while swimming.
Apply Heat And Cold
• Applying heat provides significant relief from pain. You can use any source of heat such as heating pads, hot packs or electric blankets. Apply heat to the affected areas for at least 20 minutes to reduce pain. Taking a hot shower also improves mobility of the joints.
• When your joints have inflammation due to arthritis try cold treatments. Wrap the ice in a towel and press it onto the sore joints. You can also give hot and cold compression alternatively.
If you have stiff and swollen fingers and wrist in the morning, it is better to wear a snug fitting pair of gloves before you go to sleep. This will reduce the swelling and pain in the morning.
Eat Fish With Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Many cold water fish like salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids. It has been found that this fatty acid can reduce the pain and stiffness in arthritis patients. They are capable of reducing inflammations in the body. You can also opt for omega 3 supplements in the capsule form. The daily recommended dose is 2,000 milligrams three times a day.
Flax Seed Oil
Flax seed oil also contains omega 3 fatty acids. So, if you do not like fish you can take one tablespoon of this oil every day. You can consume it as such or you can add it to your salads.
There are many herbal oils which provide relief from the arthritis pain.
- Oil of wintergreen- take a few drops of the oil and rub it on the skin in the affected areas. If you are allergic to wintergreen oil there are other options.
- Eucalyptus oil- applying this oil to the joints also reduces the inflammations. Do not use these oils when using heating pads or hot compress. Additional heat can cause skin irritation.
- Ayurvedic oils- there are many Ayurvedic oils which claim to reduce pain and swellings in the joint. You can apply them for some time and wash it off with hot water to get relief from pain.
- Olive oil- the special compound present in olive oil called oleocanthal helps in preventing pro-inflammatory enzymes. Olive oil can be used for cooking or can be applied to the joints. It reduces the pain and inflammation resulted by arthritis.
This is one of the most effective home remedies for arthritis. Ginger has the ability to improve the blood circulation. The increased blood flow removes the chemicals causing inflammations from the painful joints. Consume half-a teaspoon of powdered ginger or 30 grams of fresh ginger once a day. You will be relieved from the pain.
Pomegranate has anti- oxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. They help you by protecting and maintaining the cartilage. Take at least one glass of pomegranate juice daily.
Antioxidant Rich Foods
It has been found that antioxidant rich foods reduce the pain and deformities caused by arthritis. The free radicals present in our body attack the healthy cells including cartilage and sabotage the ability of the cartilage to repair themselves. Having antioxidant rich foods along with food rich in vitamin C relieves the osteoarthritis pain.
It is necessary to have diets rich in calcium which helps to maintain and strengthen the bones. Milk, yoghurt, shellfish, cheese etc are a good source of calcium. You can also take calcium supplements when you are over 40 years of age to protect your bones and muscles.
soaking the hands in warm water mixed with Epsom salt reduces the stiffness and inflammation and give relief from muscle cramps and pain.
The bacteria present in our gut protect our immune system. Probiotic foods will improve the useful bacteria in the body and this will help you get protection from autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis.
Pineapple contains a protein-digesting enzyme called Bromelain, which helps in reducing inflammation. It is better to consume pineapple in between your meals and not along with your meal. When you eat it with your meal, the enzyme will be used to digest the food. Use only, fresh pineapple or pineapple juice. Do not use the canned ones as they contain preservatives which may not be good for arthritis.
The compound called quercetin present in green tea prevents or eases the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that women who had at least 3 cups of green tea every day had 60 % less chances to develop arthritis than women who didn’t drink any.
There devices such as shoe inserts, splints, canes, walkers and raised seats helps to redistribute your weight and reduces the stress on your arthritic joint. This will be very helpful for the patient to move or to do the daily tasks. This will also help the arthritis from getting worse later.
Are you suffering from any type of arthritis? Are you looking for some home remedies? Try the above given home remedies for arthritis according to your convenience and availability of the items. Apart from trying the home remedies, you should do some physical activities to lead a quality life.