Arthritis

WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?

Arthritis is not a single disease but an umbrella term that refers to more than 150 conditions that affect the joints of the body. Joints are points where bones meet, such as in the knuckles, wrist, hips, knees and ankles, so that a person can bend, twist, stretch and move. Arthritis describes damages of the body joints, causing discomfort and pain. It can range from mild to severe, and can affect people of all ages. Although there is usually no cure for arthritis, there are some ways to manage the condition.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON ARTHRITIS SYMPTOMS?

The symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person, including:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth in a joint
  • Stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
  • Additionally, some people can also get other common symptoms, such as tiredness, weight loss, skin problems, and fatigue.
  • Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and inability.

WHAT CAUSES ARTHRITIS?

Below are a few common types of arthritis found in Australians:

  • Osteoarthritis: wear and tear of joints due to age, weight, family history and previous injuries.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: inflammation and swelling of joints due to autoimmunity that might be triggered by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
  • Gout
  • Infectious Arthritis: infections of the joints caused by viruses and bacteria, virus or fungus.

WHICH TREATMENTS ARE RECOMMENDED TO REDUCE ARTHRITIS?

Even though there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways to manage the conditions, including:

  • Medical treatment and medication.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Stretching.
  • Remedial massage. Book an appointment now
  • Exercise and self-management techniques.

WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED IF I HAVE ARTHRITIS?

  • Avoid having a poor diet. Keeping a healthy weight is important to avoid putting extra strain on the joints.
  • Avoid inactivity. 
  • Ignore the symptoms and hoping that they will go away will only worsen the situation. Seek medical help to understand the type of arthritis or musculoskeletal condition? What are the treatment options? What can be expected in the future?
  • Avoid repetitive movements and excessive use of joints. Use to aids, equipment and gadgets to perform the tasks.

REFERENCES

BetterHealth Channel n.d., Arthritis explained, Victoria State Government, viewed 28 Oct 2019, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/arthritis>.

What is Arthritis?, Arthritis Foundation, viewed 28 Oct 2019, <https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.php>.
Health Direct 2018, Sciatica, Australian Government Department of Health, viewed 28 Oct 2019, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/arthritis>

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