Arthritis and Joint Pain
The most basic explanation of arthritis is to say it is joint pain or joint disease. The reality is there are more than 100 types of arthritis that affect millions of adults and hundreds of thousands of children, causing serious disability in many.
The joint pain caused by arthritis can range from irritating to debilitating. The most common symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. This pain may be occasional, it may last a few hours or a few months, it can cause changes in joints and joint damage, and it can gradually progress over time, becoming chronic and leading to the inability to perform once simple tasks.
Arthritis is not well understood, but many have found they can manage their joint pain with rest, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medication. In deciding on a plan, it helps to understand the type of arthritis you are dealing with.
Osteoarthritis (OA) – A degenerative arthritis that is caused by a wearing away of the cartilage that cushions the bones at the joints. This can happen with age or due to injury or obesity. Mild joint pain and stiffness can usually be managed with a balance of rest and regular physical activity, as well as maintaining healthy weight.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) – Types of inflammatory arthritis in which the immune system attacks the joints, damaging joint linings and even causing damage to other organs in the body, including the eyes, heart and nervous system. These autoimmune diseases are typically triggered by genetic factors. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
Bursitis -- Joint inflammation that affects the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion within and around the joints, reducing the friction between muscle and bone that occurs during every day movement. Bursitis usually results because of repetitive motion, overuse during athletics or work, or as a result of an injury to the joint. It also occurs in older adults as age takes its toll on the joints.
Gout – A form of metabolic arthritis in which uric acid builds up in joint tissue. Click here for more detail