Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of Americans, particularly those in the elderly population. People with arthritis suffer from pain and stiffness in their joints. Sometimes the pain can be so debilitating that it affects everyday living. Daily activities, such as walking, standing or working with one’s hands are often difficult for arthritic people.
Over a hundred different types of arthritis have been identified. Most types heavily affect older adults, but juvenile arthritis can affect children. Some common arthritis symptoms are pain in the joints, muscle ache and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are among the most common forms of the disease.
One key feature of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is that it causes joints to become inflamed. In most cases, RA affects the joints in the hands, but other body parts can become impaired and lack mobility as well, including the wrists, elbows, knees, feet and hips. Even the shoulders, neck and jaw can become stricken with rheumatoid arthritis. Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:
- Swelling–the joint becomes puffy, which impairs movement.
- Stiffness–the joint no longer works properly. It may take a person hours after waking up in the morning before they are able to use the joint normally.
- Hot/Warm–the joint feels warmer than other areas of the body. The skin may appear red or slightly discolored.
- Pain–the swelling inside the joint causes it to be sensitive and sore.
Osteoarthritis, another common form of the disease, is characterized by muscle weakness, swelling and pain. The joints often become deformed, and loss of movement prevents the sufferer from flexing, bending and extending the joint normally. Complete loss of movement may occur in extreme cases. Often osteoarthritis causes joints to make creaking and cracking sounds. The pain from arthritis often disrupts the sufferer’s sleep patterns.
The pain and swelling caused by arthritis often make it difficult for people to grasp small objects, stand or walk for extended periods and lift items above the head. Some people find it difficult to move within their own houses, particularly if they have stairs to climb. As arthritis pain becomes more severe, sufferers may have to switch from a two-story to a one-story home in Carmel. Others with arthritis may have to make modifications to their houses in order to reduce their arthritis pain. Some states and counties offer home modification grants for those with disabilities such as arthritis. Contact your local office of disabilities services or contact a real estate broker concerning your needs for your home in Carmel, California.
Pain Management for Arthritis
Some remedies for arthritis pain exist, though there is no cure for the disease. Warm baths can help ease pain. Warm compresses, such as heating pads, might also be applied to sore areas to relieve some pain. In severe cases, joint replacement surgeries are becoming more popular as the aging population increases. Researchers are constantly looking for ways to treat and manage arthritis better.
Some people with arthritis have found that regular exercise helps alleviate some of the pain. Range-of-motion exercises, muscle-strengthening exercises and aerobics are often helpful. Walking around the block or even doing yard work can help ensure that arthritis sufferers maintain some muscle strength and flexibility in the joints. While exercising may seem to be a daunting task for those with arthritis, some exercise is always better than none at all. Consult a doctor or physical therapist for a list of exercises that would work best for you.
A group of researchers at Rush University Medical Center is currently treating arthritis pain using radio energy. This treatment method uses cooled radio wave energy to relieve arthritis pain in the knee. The treatment is considered noninvasive and can relieve pain for several months. This radiofrequency ablation therapy reduces the patient’s need for daily arthritis medication and can be used as an alternative to knee replacement surgery.
In short, though no known cure currently exists for arthritis, many people have learned that they can manage their pain. A combination of daily exercise and pain medications can work wonders for those suffering from arthritis. New treatments are currently available, such as those proposed by researchers at Rush University. Joint replacement surgeries have successfully helped people reduce their arthritis pain.