Arthritis is a general term that covers over 100 different conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. These joint-related problems cause symptoms such as stiffness, inflammation, pain, and damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues. This can lead to weakened joints, deformities, and instability that can make basic daily tasks challenging. That is why we need arthritis treatments to help ease these symptoms.
In the UK approximately 10 million people suffer from arthritis, with the most common forms being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There are no cures for these conditions. However, there are ways to manage arthritis to lessen the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Arthritis treatments vary and often include a combination of medications, natural supplements, physical therapy, and lifestyle adjustments.
Classification of Arthritic Conditions
The wide range of arthritis conditions can be classified into three main groups:
Inflammatory arthritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions which affect the immune system. The arthritis is caused by the body’s own defence system attacking its own tissues instead of viruses, germs and other foreign substances. This causes stiffness, pain and joint damage.
The most common type of inflammatory arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Other common conditions from within this category include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Non-Inflammatory Arthritis is characterized by natural wear and tear of mostly the weight-bearing joints (back, hip, feet and knee). It can also affect both the smaller joints of the body, including the hands and wrists.
Unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis, this type of arthritis is very common in elderly people.
The most common type of Non-Inflammatory Arthritis is osteoarthritis. Other conditions within this category include scoliosis and torn ligaments.
Connective Tissue Disease
This category includes Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, and sclerosis.
Types of Arthritis Treatments
The treatment of arthritis aims to minimize symptoms so that joint health is improved. Using a range of therapies, patients can reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling to improve mobility and slow the progression of joint degradation.
The best arthritis treatments will include a combination of approaches, varying depending on individual conditions. For example, a psoriatic arthritis treatments may differ from an osteoarthritis treatment plan due to differences in the underlying cause of the joint degradation.
Arthritis Treatment Requires Lifestyle Adjustments
If left untreated conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis will significantly worsen as the joint degradation accelerates. In order to preserve quality of life it’s essential to make positive lifestyle adjustments.
This includes maintaining an arthritis-friendly diet, rich in anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants.
The Importance of Diet and Nutrients
Making smart food choices can significantly improve joint health, reducing inflammation and associated pain to make movement easier. This will lessen joint swelling and stiffness, providing better joint mobility.
Routinely taking appropriate effective joint food supplements can also significantly reduce arthritis symptoms. The high-street and online market is awash with so-called “joint food” supplements.
But be careful, the products differ significantly in quality and value for money. We have taken the guesswork out for you and compared over 20 joint food supplements.
Regular participation in low impact sports is also an important aspect of an arthritis treatment plan. Low-impact exercise such as swimming, rowing, cycling, yoga, bowling and golfing will help to maintain joint movement, reduce joint instability and help to minimise pain.
Of course, regular (ideally outdoor) exercise also increases your endorphine levels and helps to keep your body weight in check. This reduces general pressure on your joints keeping you happy and healthy.
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