Have you been experiencing joint pain and discomfort as you get older? Are you noticing swelling in your knees, wrists, shoulders or ankle? Maybe you have arthritis…
But what is arthritis? Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is more common in people over 65 years old, however it can occur at any age.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints. There are many types of arthritis, but these are the most common 2 that one may be suffering with.
What are the main risk factors and causes?
The cause of many types of arthritis is unknown. As a result, researchers have been looking into the role of genetics (heredity) and lifestyle in the development of arthritis for many years. They have established several things that may raise your risk for arthritis, including:
- Age. Over time, your joints tend to get worn down. That’s why the risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, goes up with age.
- Sex. Most types of arthritis are more common among women, except for gout.
- Genes. Certain types of arthritis run in families. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis, for example, are linked to certain genes.
- Excess weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints, increasing wear and tear of your cartilage and the risk of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.
- Injuries. They can cause joint damage that can bring on some types of the condition.
- Infection. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can infect joints and trigger inflammation.
- Work. Some jobs that use repetitive movements or heavy lifting can stress the joints or cause an injury, thus leading to arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. For example, if you need to do a lot of knee bends and squats at work, you might be more likely to get osteoarthritis.
How do I know if I have arthritis, or I’m starting to get it?
Joint discomfort might come and go, or it could stay constant. Common symptoms include:
How do I prevent and treat Arthritis?
As biokineticists, we can help you carry out your daily activities by reducing your pain, increasing your Range of Motion (ROM) and strengthening your muscles and bones! Furthermore, Research shows that continued physical activity is an effective way to reduce symptoms long-term, as a result individuals will experience less discomfort. Despite initially feeling a slight increase when starting with exercise.
A couple of the factors we can assist you with:
- Doing low-impact, non-weight bearing exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Increasing Cardiovascular health, strength and fitness
- Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
- Improved Range of Motion and Flexibility
- Strengthen Muscles and Bones