What is Arthritis and What are Its Different Forms?

July 21, 2022 3 min read

Arthritis refers to joint pain or disease, and there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related joint conditions. Anyone can get arthritis, but it is most common in women. At this time, it is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. While many people associate arthritis with aging, not all forms of arthritis are associated with aging. 

The most common symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, and stiffness. Most sufferers notice a diminished range of motion in their joints. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, stay the same over time, or progress. Chronic pain often accompanies severe, progressive symptoms, making everyday activities challenging.

Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) 

This is the most common type of arthritis and mainly occurs in the hands, spine, hips, and knees. It was once associated with wear-and-tear on cartilage over many years. However, further research discovered that the entire joint is involved, not just the cartilage. The connective tissue holding the joint together deteriorates and becomes inflamed.

There are several known causes of OA, including:

  • Injuries
  • Work-related damage from physical jobs
  • Lifestyle factors (excess weight, lack of exercise, and poor diet)

OA often presents itself as you age, but it is not an inevitable disease. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting inflammatory foods and sugars can help reduce the chances of OA developing.

Treating Osteoarthritis

Treatment for OA includes over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatories. Natural therapies such as acupuncture and far-infrared therapy can also help promote blood circulation, increase oxygen flow, and reduce pain and stiffness. Many people with arthritis have seen significant improvement in their mobility and comfort using our Therapeutic Fingerless Gloves or our Therapeutic Socks

Autoimmune Inflammatory Arthritis

In this form of arthritis, the immune system becomes overactive and attacks joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are just a few forms that fall within this category. It is unclear what causes inflammatory arthritis, but there are a few contributing factors, including:

  • Viruses
  • Stress
  • Smoking

Treating Inflammatory Arthritis

Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for this form of arthritis. This helps to slow the progression and prevent any permanent joint damage. Remission, meaning a full or almost full recovery, is the goal for inflammatory arthritis, but unfortunately is not achievable for all people. Creating a treatment plan with your doctor that works for you is important. Not all medications will be effective for this form of arthritis, and it may take a few tries to find the right one for you.

Lifestyle changes are also recommended for inflammatory arthritis, including:

  • Regular exercise
  • Good sleep
  • Healthy food choices
  • Reducing inflammatory and sugary foods
  • Reducing stress

Infectious Arthritis- This form of arthritis is acute and caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection that travels to a joint. Sufferers from infectious arthritis will notice swelling, pain, and fever. This type of arthritis can be treated with antibiotics or antifungals. Once treated, the symptoms generally go away within a week or two.

Arthritis can feel very limiting and frustrating, especially when you are active. Choosing the right combination of medication and natural therapies can significantly impact your daily life. If unsure of the right path for your arthritis, visit your doctor and create a plan for your unique needs and lifestyle.

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