Millions of people around the world suffer from arthritis. Contrary to popular belief, aches and pains in the joints and spine affect all age groups, not just the elderly. In the United States arthritis affects 5.3% adults of working age (18-64 years); equalling approximately 6.9 million Americans!
Arthritis is caused by genetics, injury, and disease of articular cartilage. Changes to the joints caused by arthritis are permanent; however, arthritic symptoms can be alleviated by means of diet and excercise, lifestyle modifications, as well choosing an over the counter medication for arthritis.
Arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but can actually be a symptom of a variety of causes. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by changes in the joints. Osteoarthritis is caused by deterioration of joint cartilage, resulting in the bone ends becoming unprotected and touching each other. During the motion of the joint there is friction in the unprotected ends of the bones that can lead to their thickening and formation of bone protrusions. Friction of unprotected thickened ends of the bones causes pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis, the second most form of arthritis is a systemic disease of connective tissue. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder primarily affecting synovial joints* , but also tissues and organs in the body. The process creates an inflammatory response called synovitis. The process of rheumatoid arthritis often results in ankylosis of the joints and articular cartilage destruction.
*A Synovial joint, also known as a diarthrosis, is the most common and most movable type of joint in the body of a mammal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synovial_joint
image from medicinet.com
When Does Arthritis Occur?
Arthritis affects people of all ages, but most the middle aged and the elderly, women more commonly affected than men.
Degradation of cartilage can be caused by injury, disease, or heredity. It is a false and misleading belief that arthritis is a disease of aging. It affects all age groups!
How Common is Low-Back Pain and Why Does it Occur?
Low-back pain affects approximately 80% of the population at some point in their life. Low back-pain commonly occurs in people who are overweight, of poor physical condition, have poor posture, or work in jobs where the nature of their work includes standing or sitting for long periods of time. Muscle strain due to lifting heavy objects incorrectly is also a common cause of back pain. A large number of pregnant women also have problems with pain in her lower back due to the extra weight they carry. Back pain may also be due to vertebral osteoarthritis, fractured vertebrae, protruding or herniated intervertebral disc(s).
How to Recognize the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Some people do not fee the initial cartilage destruction, while others suffer from intense silent pain and stiffness of joints, especially during movement.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are as follows:
- reduced range of motion of the joint,
- recurring joint pain and tenderness, especially during or after movement,
- swelling of one or more joints, and
- redness and warmth in the joint.
What Joints are Most Commonly Affected?
The joints that are most commonly affected by arthritic symptoms include the knees, fingers, spine, and hips as they are the joints that are the most frequently used and therefore experience the most ‘wear and tear’.
What Tests Can You Do?
Diagnosis is made by your physician based on clinical examination and x-ray imaging of the affected joint(s). A large number of people over the age of 60 will show evidence of change with x-rays, but only one-third will show evidence of persistent symptoms of arthritis (pain, swelling, redness, bony growths at the joints, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the joint).
What Can You Do to Lessen the Arthritis Pain?
Changes to the joints in arthritis are permanent, meaning that it can not be cured, but the pain and other symptoms may be diminished with the right diet, minor lifestyle changes, excersicing, and the use of pain-releiving medications; most of which can be obtained without a prescription.
By implementing the following minor changes in lifestyle, pain may be prevented in the performing of daily tasks:
- lift heavy objects from the squat; not bending;
- use both hands to pick up an item;
- do not turn around while lifting an object;
- avoid lifting above shoulder level;
- distribute the weight of the object evenly on both hands;
- get plenty of rest;
- sit with both feet on the floor, with your knees, at least, equal to the thighs, and firm up against the back of the chair;
- if your job requires you to sit for extended periods of time, get up and walk around, at least, every hour;
- when standing for extended periods of time, alternate weight reliance from one foot to the other;
- walk upright and wear comfortable shoes.
Proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce unnecessary burden on your joints, and will contribute to your overall health and well being.
Exercise* will help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint(s), thus providing support and stability to the affected area(s). Exercise will also promote mobility and prevent stiffness.
* More info about arthritis and exercise read in this post: Arthritis And Physical Exercise
Over the Counter Medication for Arthritis
An additional way to effectively treat arthritic pain is with an arthritis over the counter medication. These are remedies without a prescription, that can be bought at any pharmacy or over the Internet. One of the best over the counter medication for arthritis is Provailen, a pill made entirely from natural ingredients that is excellent for eliminating pain, improving joint mobility, and gaining strength in the joint(s).
While the body is adjusting to Provailen a few minor side effects can occur. However, Provailen has no lasting side effects, and is safe to take over an extended period of time. Numerous clinical studies confirm that Provailen is considered to be one of the best modern over the counter medication for arthritis.