Arthritis Treatments & Definitions

What is Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation within a joint. Arthritis affects people of all ages including children. There are over 100 different types of arthritis that cause a wide range of symptoms. Two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This article will focus on Osteoarthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis

The most common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear on the body as the cartilage starts to degenerate. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, joint pain and loss of movement in the joint.

Arthritis symptoms (osteoarthritis symptoms): The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing arthritis symptoms of stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint. Joint pain caused by arthritis is usually less in the morning and worse in the evening after a day?s activity. The most frequently affected joints are in the hands, spine, knees and hips. Though arthritis may affect any joint, osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees and lower back. It also affects the neck, small finger joints, the base of the thumb and the big toe.

Causes of arthritis: There are many causes for arthritis, including aging joints, previous injuries, overuse (athletes or people with a job requiring repeand obesity. Osteoarthritis typically develops in people who are over 50 years of age. However, it can develop at any age as a result of an injury or another joint-related condition.

Arthritis Treatments

Happy Couple ExercisingSpecifically, Treatment for Osteoarthritis

While there is no cure for arthritis, there are quite a few treatment options for arthritis that can both slow the progression of arthritis and help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. The number one ingredient in living with arthritis is your actions. More importantly than any medications you may take, making healthy lifestyle changes, managing stress and depression, avoiding joint damage, and balancing rest and activity will play a key role in controlling the pain and limitations that can come with osteoarthritis.

Exercise

Your physical activity should include a combination of exercises to strengthen your muscles and exercises to improve your general fitness.

You might be thinking, “If symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness, won’t exercise make your symptoms worse?” In reality, exercise is the most important treatment for people with osteoarthritis, regardless of age or level of fitness. Your muscles are like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. If you don’t use them, they may start to “rust shut” and movement may become more painful and more restrictive. Regular exercise keeps you active and mobile. Exercise also helps to build up muscle and strengthen joints. As the joints strengthen, symptoms of arthritis gradually improve.

As an added bonus, exercise is also good for relieving stress, losing weight and improving your posture, all of which contribute to easing arthritis symptoms.

Losing Weight

Being overweight makes osteoarthritis worse. Extra weight puts additional strain on damaged joints, this is particularly true for arthritis in the knee. For example, for every pound you gain, you add for pounds of pressure to your knees and six times the pressure on your hips. With arthritis, your joints have a reduced ability to repaire themselves following the additional strain of the added weight. Additionally, recent research suggests that excess body fat actually produces chemicals that cause additional joint damage. As you can see, managing your weight is critical to treating arthritis.

If you are like me, you can probably stand to lose a few pounds. Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for losing weight. If you are overweight, try to lose weight by doing more physical activity and eating a healthier diet. Since you are already dealing with pain, be sure to discuss any new exercise plan with your doctor or physiotherapist before you start. They can help plan a suitable exercise program for you that will help you lose weight and improve muscular and joint health.

Hot or Cold PacksHot or Cold Therapy

Applying hot or cold packs to the affected joints can be very effective in reducing arthritis pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Whether you use hot or cold comes down to personal preference. Some patients prefer cold therapy to heat for arthritis pain because the cold pack numbs the sore area and reduces inflammation and swelling. Ice packs can be especially effective for joint pain caused by an arthritis flare. Some patients prefer hot packs to help stimulate circulation and relieve muscle spasms. Still other patients feel the best relief comes when alternating sessions of hot and cold therapy.

You may want to experiment with both heat and ice therapy and then select the method that gives the best relief.

Snappy - FrozenPeaz mascot

 

Snappy Says: The great thing about FrozenPeaz® is that you can decide in the moment whether to use hot or cold therapy and FrozenPeaz does both! Try that for relief from arthritis pain!

 

 

Which FrozenPeaz® products are best for treating joint pain associated with arthritis and osteoarthritis?

  • Arthritis Knee Pain: The Large Joint Wrap provides circumferential coverage for many PEA-ple. You may also want to try the extension wrap to add an extra 6″ of hot or cold therapy relief.
  • Lower Back Pain: The Large Joint Wrap also provides great coverage for lower back pain. Check out our video (coming in May 2013) on how to effectively wrap the Large Joint Wrap to ensure the greatest amount of contact and transference of hot or cold relief. As with the Large Joint Wrap for the knee, you may also want to try the extension wrap to add an extra 6″ of coverage.
  • Arthritis Hip Pain: The Large Joint Wrap is 18″ long and can be able to be applied to the hip area for hot or cold therapy relief.
  • Neck/Shoulder Pain: The Neck & Shoulder Wrap is specifically contoured to provide relief to the neck and shoulder area.
  • Arthritis Pain in Fingers or Hands: Many PEA-ple like the wrap around coverage of the Small Joint Wrap for hands and writs. Other PEA-ple prefer to rest their wrist or hand on the Eye/Face Wrap.

 

Sources
WebMD
Arthritis Foundation

 

Cartilage: Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints.