Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a single joint or multiple. Around 10 million people suffer with the condition in the UK. It most often develops in adults in their late 40s or older but can also occur in children.
There are numerous types of arthritis, although the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the more common of the two and is characterised by joint pain and stiffness and in some cases swelling and grating of the joint. As part of normal life, our joints are exposed to a continuous level of minor damage. However in osteoarthritis, the cartilage cushioning the joint breaks down causing the swelling and pain synonymous with the condition. Exact causes are unknown but can occur as a result of an injury, obesity or be associated with other joint-related conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
The other most common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a long-term condition where symptoms can fluctuate to periods of severe pain and swelling, known as ‘flare-ups’. It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition. Differing from osteoarthritis which is caused by the environment, RA is an auto-immune disease which means your immune system incorrectly attacks your joints, causing swelling, stiffness and pain. Over time the condition can worsen to effect the nearby cartilage and bone, and even other parts of the body.
The mainstream’s approach to treating the disease is to prescribe powerful painkillers that only shield the painful symptoms associated with the condition. Few mainstream therapies focus on repairing the damaged joint cartilage or combating the inflammation associated with arthritis. So, what are your alternatives? Can the condition be treated without having to resort to taking powerful painkillers and steroid injections on a regular basis?
The Daily Health will help you find answers to all these questions and much, much more so that you are able to understand and manage a diagnosis of arthritis.
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