Arthritis is a form of joint pain, and it's not surprising that people who suffer reach for the aspirin or other conventional pain reliever. Problem is, these medications can be really rough on your stomach, and they also do nothing to slow the progress of your arthritis. Even the new COX-2 inhibitor drugs don't act to preserve the joint. We've found that there are other steps you can take, including the use of antioxidant supplements, to reduce cartilage degeneration and keep your joints from stiffening up.
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis is most commonly in the form of osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease. Over time, this condition produces a gradual, age-related deterioration of joint cartilage (the smooth, gel-like cushion between bones that reduces friction and absorbs shock). As the disease progresses and the cartilage continues to break down, exposed bone ends rub together and may develop growths, called spurs. Then, when the joint moves, the spurs grind against each other, causing pain and joint instability. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it is most common in the fingers, knees, ankles and feet, hips, neck, and spine.
Osteoarthritis often begins gradually, with mild joint stiffness and pain that usually occur in the morning or after exercise and are relieved by rest. In some people, symptoms remain mild or even fade away. In others, however, the condition grows progressively worse and can become severely disabling. Affected joints may become deformed and gnarled. Because pain and stiffness may limit movement and exercise, the muscles surrounding the joint can become weaker, causing even more discomfort and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is among the most common of age-related diseases, and now affects some 16 million Americans. By age 40, nine out of 10 people show some signs of arthritic changes on X rays, and many go on to develop joint pain and stiffness. Though osteoarthritis is neither preventable nor curable, fortunately its symptoms are controllable. We offer complimentary consultations so that you can discover natural solutions for your health.
Nothing can cure osteoarthritis, but nutritional supplements, the application of heat or cold to affected joints, exercise, and weight loss can improve the function and flexibility of your joints, and perhaps even slow the progress of the disease.
One alternative, especially for those with chronic arthritis pain, is periodic chiropractic treatment, massage therapy and acupuncture treatments. Although the pain-relieving effects may be transitory, these sessions can be very beneficial for those who find that drugs or supplements are insufficient or have unacceptable side effects.
Even though osteoarthritis isn't preventable, you can often at least delay the onset of the disease and reduce its severity by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding, if possible, repetitive motions that can stress your joints.
Additionally, non-surgical and non-pharmacological treatments are recommended as the first line of therapy for knee and hip osteoarthritis. Techniques such as exercise therapy and manual therapy may reduce pain and increase joint function in these disorders.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The joint damage associated with osteoarthritis causes swelling, pain, and deformity. Here is information about how osteoarthritis affects the foot and ankle and information you can use to help you manage this debilitating condition.
Symptoms of foot and ankle osteoarthritis often include the following:
- Tenderness or pain.
- Reduced ability to move or walk.
- Stiffness in the joint.
- Swelling in the joint.
Causes of Arthritis
Some causes of arthritis include, but are not limited to:
- Immune system dysfunction.
Treatment of Arthritis
Arthritis can get progressively worse if untreated, it is important to treat it via:
- Massage therapy.
- Chiropractic rehabilitation.
- Medication (consult a doctor).
- Surgery (consult a doctor).
Some preventative measures include:
- Maintain a good posture.
- Exercise regularly.
- Stay hydrated.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Maintain good posture when doing activities.
If you suffer from arthritis and want a natural approach to health, we can help. Our Mississauga clinics have an approach to better health.