Arthritis could be caused by about 100 different diseases, but it all leads to one main symptom: inflammation of the joints. Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting off injury or infection, and it is completely healthy for short periods of time. However, arthritis can cause severe, long-term inflammation which will eventually kill joint tissue.
If you are suffering from arthritis pain, always consult with Dr. Fuchs, an orthopaedic surgeon, but listed below are steps that you can take at home to ease your symptoms. Additional treatment may be needed to help ease your pain.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The symptoms experienced by arthritis sufferers vary in nature and severity, depending on the cause of the issue. However, certain symptoms are more common than others. Most people with arthritis tend to experience:
- Pain and Swelling
How to Prevent and Manage Arthritis Symptoms
When you have been diagnosed with arthritis, it is vital that you prevent joint damage by managing your symptoms.
Drinking enough water and staying consistently hydrated can have a major impact on your joint health. Water helps the body maintain adequate blood volume and flow throughout the day while more efficiently carrying important nutrients to different areas in the body. Joints are nourished by a liquid called synovial fluid that fills the space between the bones. By staying hydrated, you’re replenishing this substance.
Soak in Warm Water
Warm water is a powerful tool in your fight against arthritis. Soaking in warm (not hot) water for approximately 20 minutes can help provide support for sore limbs, decrease swelling and increase circulation. Combining all of these factors can provide quick relief.
Shed Pounds if you are Overweight
Being overweight can make arthritis and other joint conditions worse. According to the CDC, one in five people are diagnosed with arthritis, but that number jumps to one in three obese people. Excess weight puts extra pressure on joints and can cause them to wear more quickly. For every pound of excess weight, it adds four pounds of pressure on the knees.
Watch Your Diet
When you have arthritis, your joints are naturally more inflamed. Certain foods can make your symptoms worse.
- Sugar – Try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Processed sugar causes an inflammatory response because it releases cytokines, a substance that is secreted by certain cells in the immune system.
- Saturated Fat – Saturated fat, typically found in foods like cheese and fatty meats, have been found to increase the body’s inflammatory response.
- Processed Carbohydrates – Foods made with white flour such as bread, potatoes and cereals are high on the on the glycemic index and increase the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) which can cause inflammation.
- Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages offer little to no nutritional value and disrupt important functions that help reduce inflammation.
Arthritis Treatment Options
Arthritis symptoms can be partly treated at home, but in order to truly treat the issue, treatment from an orthopedist is often necessary.
Often, symptoms can be managed through the use of medication. Different types of medication will be used depending on the cause of your arthritis.
- Analgesics – This type of medication is prescribed mainly to relieve pain.
- Biologics – Biologics help the body regulate its natural response to infection and disease.
- Corticosteroids – This medication type mimics the effects of cortisol, which is produced in the adrenal gland. It is typically used for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.
- DMARDs – DMARD is short for disease modifying antirheumatic drug. It slows the inflammatory process that damages joints.
- NSAIDs – NSAID stands for Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which can be used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Joint Replacement Surgery
When lifestyle changes, physical therapy and medication don’t relieve arthritis, joint replacement surgery is often the right option for many arthritis sufferers. Joint replacement surgery can not only help you feel better, it can help you move better too!
In its most simplistic terms, joint replacement surgery removes the damaged joint and a new one is attached. In some cases, the entire joint won’t need to be replaced, but just the damaged tissue will be restored.