Arthritis is a painful and degenerative condition marked by inflammation in the joints that causes stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, gets worse with age and is caused by wear and tear over the years.
We take the freedom of movement for granted, until it becomes limited. The cause of this for many people comes in the form of arthritis, or theinflammation of one or more of your joints. There are two main kinds, osteo and rheumatoid, both of which affect the joint in different ways. Osteo arthritis is when the cartilage between bones wears down, until bone grates on bone. Rheumatoid is little less straightforward, being caused by an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the synovial membrane (a soft tissue that protects joints in the body) and that can lead to bone loss. Whichever you experience, there are natural remedies for arthritis to manage the pain and ease the symptoms. In this article (which continues in the next post), we are going to analyse the causes, symptoms, effective treatment options, and all that you need to deal with this illness in order to come out strong again.
Doctors traditionally treat arthritis with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. However, some medications cause side effects, and a natural approach to pain relief is becoming more popular. Remember to consult your doctor before trying these natural remedies.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Hallmark warning signs and symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain: Pain intensity varies from person to person, depending on the location in the body, and might come and go depending on other lifestyle factors.
- Signs of inflammation and swelling: You might be able to notice swelling and fluid retention through your skin over the affected joint. Joints can also become red, warm and tender, which are signs of swelling.
- Stiffness: Stiff joints affect most people with arthritis and tend to be worse when standing, laying or sitting in one position for long periods.
- Decreased range of motion and loss of flexibility
While the symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person, the two most common are stiffness and pain. This is especially the case with osteoarthritis, which often causes the most intense stiffness first thing after waking up in the morning. The Arthritis Foundation points out that “if you experience morning stiffness that lasts longer than an hour, this is a good reason to suspect arthritis. It also shouldn’t be that hard or painful to get up from your favorite chair.”
Some joints are more commonly impacted by arthritis/osteoarthritis than others, including those located in:
- The lower back
- Thumb base
If you suffer with osteoarthritis in one of these places, you may have difficulty with movement in general and doing any of the follow activities:
- Climbing stairs
- Lifting objects
- Grasping or holding objects
- Doing intricate, detailed work, such as knitting or needlepoint
- Squatting down
- Lifting your legs
Arthritis can also cause complications. Fluid can accumulate in the affected joint, and levels of a beneficial chemical hormone called hyaluronan can decline, which means joints are less protected from the effects of shock and pressure. Another common complication associated with osteoarthritis is free-floating bone or cartilage within joint fluid, causing irritation and sometimes developing into painful bone spurs.
CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS
Experts still don’t know of one concrete cause for all cases of degenerative joint diseases, including osteoarthritis. Rather, it’s believed that the cause of arthritis is multifactorial and depends on a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Some of the factors believed to contribute to arthritis/osteoarthritis most include:
- Genetic susceptibility: Arthritis is known to run in families, although having a family history isn’t a guarantee you’ll develop arthritis. The World Journal of Orthopedics reports that the human leukocyte antigen region in the human genome is the most heterogeneous, and many diseases are known to be associated with this region, including arthritis. One theory linking genetics to arthritis is that people with osteoarthritis might have a genetic defect in the gene that controls the production of collagen. Collagen is important for making cartilage, so slowed production can lead to faster joint deterioration. Certain people might also have genes that result in slight malformations of bones and joints, leading to uneven cartilage and problems associated with how joints rub up against one another.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk because excess weight puts added pressure on your joints. Your hips and knees bear most of your body’s weight and are especially susceptible to added strain and stress. According to Arthritis Today, for every pound of weight you gain you put an additional four pounds of extra weight on your knees. While one in five Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis, according to the CDC)that number jumps to more than one in three among obese people.
- Injury: Trauma or injury to joints trigger the process of cartilage loss and deterioration.
- Overuse: Repetitive movements for many years, overtraining or exercising without enough rest between workouts are risk factors.
- Infections: Examples of organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella (food poisoning or contamination), chlamydia and gonorrhea (sexually transmitted diseases), and hepatitis C.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s own healthy joint tissue. This can be in reaction to gut-related problems (like leaky gut syndrome or food allergies) and other factors like high amounts of stress and toxicity.
- Other medical conditions: Having other health problems like diabetes or an autoimmune disorder can raise your risk for arthritis. Gout and metabolic problems like uric acid buildup also contribute to arthritis because they cause crystal-like particles to develop in the joints, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain.