What is Arthritis

arthritis

It starts as a persistent throb. The pain is minor but doesn’t stop you from doing what you love. As time passes, the chronic discomfort begins to worsen and inflammation increases. Morning and evening joint stiffness makes it uncomfortable to move around. You might have trouble sleeping. Or, maybe the pain grows so bad that you begin to take medicine daily. What is this awful, persistent pain you ask?

Arthritis has many different forms. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there are more than 100 of them. Over time, the disease can become quite crippling. If you aren’t sure which one you suffer from, read below to learn more about the most common forms. Be sure to confirm your suspicions with your family physician before making any major life changes. He or she may be able to assist with other solutions that will help you manage the recurrent pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

Osteoarthritis

What-Is-Osteoarthritis

This type of arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage deteriorates inside the joint and essentially erodes away until your bones are grinding against other bones. There really is no fix for this problem other than surgical procedures to reinforce or replace the damaged area. It can’t be fixed because the pain is radiating from the bones themselves. Osteoarthritis usually only affects the elderly but a small percentage of younger individuals also suffer from this if they have experienced any sort of extreme trauma to the body – one example would be a car accident.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

arthritis medical examination

This type of arthritis occurs when your body’s organs and joints are attacked by your immune system. In the immune system of a person with RA the body attacks the lining of the joints, also known as the synovium. It can also affect bones and ligaments as well.

Psoriatic Arthritis

psoriatic-arthritis

Unlike RA (as mentioned above), psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease. Pain comes from your immune system attacking your body. It primarily affects the joints (causing arthritis), ligaments (causing enthesitis), and it can also affect your skin, causing psoriasis.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

With this type of arthritis, the brain and spinal cord process the pain signals differently. For example what may hurt you may not hurt someone else. Unlike other forms of arthritis, the pain is not isolated to one small area but widespread. It may be present occasionally or might occur off and on regularly. Other symptoms that accompany the diagnosis are fatigue, sleep issues, trouble concentrating and mood issues.

Back Pain

Back pain in office back pain office

Different forms of arthritis can affect your back. Usually they are a result of injuries. It may be the result of a car accident, improper lifting, or a sports-related blow. In either case, treatment for arthritic back pain varies depending on the diagnosis. A physician can recommend physical therapy or prescribe pain medication as needed. Some more severe cases may require surgery.

Gout

Gout-in-Foot

Another common form of arthritis called gout is characterized by the production of too many uric acid crystals in your body. When they build up in the body the crystals can multiply in your joints. This causes great pain in the body through joint inflammation. Pain from gout usually affects the large joint of your big toe but can affect other areas and the pain does vary. Some days you will feel fine then the next day you might wake up in complete misery.

Lupus

lupus

This form of arthritis affects multiple areas of the body. It is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects joints, skin, brains, blood, and kidneys. The disease can also affect other organs as well. Symptoms include hair loss, fatigue, fever, rash, and sensitivity to light.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. Once it sets in, it will only grow worse over time. There are some steps though that you can take to ease the pain and discomfort associated with these conditions. Physical therapy works for some. Light activity keeps the body limber and circulation flowing well. Certain medications can be helpful too. Ibuprofin (Motrin) is a great help at reducing inflammation in the body. It also blocks pain for a short time. If medication is not your ideal way of treatment you can also look into heat and ice treatment and homeopathic options such as adding turmeric to your beverages and meals to naturally reduce your body’s inflammation.