There are millions of Americans that suffer from the pain of arthritis and related conditions all the time. The most important thing to know is that you are not alone in this suffering. Many times you may feel like you are the only one going through this disease, but there are others that feel the same way that you do.
Arthritis can be a very hard problem to understand and many patients who suffer from arthritis will feel like they are alone and confused. However, with some help, you can meet and talk to others that are dealing with the same pain of arthritis conditions.
Joining one of the many different arthritis support groups will help you feel better about your condition and give you a better outlook on life.
The Arthritis Foundation is one of the non-profit organizations that were formed for those that have arthritis. There are over 100 different conditions that are related to arthritis and this foundation has worked hard to meet those needs and concerns for people.
This organization will help to give out information about arthritic conditions as well as work as an advocate for the patients that are dealing with arthritis.
They will sponsor medical research for the condition and hope to find a cure for it one day. The Arthritis Foundation will join in with many other organizations and companies to bring patients the service that they need.
Their website will help those that are suffering and the family members and friends that want to learn more about how they can help and donate money towards arthritis research. You can also join an online organization and benefit from their different member services.
When you are looking for something on a personal level, you need to first find a local arthritis group and talk to your doctor about it. Usually hospitals will sponsor these types of support groups and help people cope with different diseases and pain.
Arthritis is no different. A local group will usually meet with others that are dealing with arthritis and get feedback on how to cope in daily life. These community groups are going to be lifelong friends and you can learn to live better and be more optimistic.
You can check your local newspapers if your doctor does not know where to find a support group. You can even start your own group! If no support group exists in your town, there may be a huge need for someone to head up this type of project.
A support group is an important way for children that are suffering from arthritis as well. Arthritis is a condition that is usually more common with age; many children will feel isolated because they have it at such a young age.
The children’s wing of your local hospital may be able to help you find a support group. It makes no difference what age you are, you can get benefits from the community or support group when you have arthritis. You need to look online and talk to your doctor about more information on this subject.
When someone says arthritis, the first thing that comes to mind is painful joints. However, since there are over a hundred different types of arthritis, the arthritis symptoms can be quite variable and will include not just joint pains.
In this article, you will learn what are the certain signs and arthritis symptoms associated with this debilitating disease that affects millions.
It’s not a Sports Injury
One of the concerns frequently raised by those suffering from what could be arthritis symptoms is that the signs are far too similar to the symptoms commonly associated with a sports injury. How do you know the difference? The first step consists in determining what caused the arthritis symptoms to erupt. Ask yourself the following questions for instance:
- Did it happen all of a sudden?
- Have you recently engaged in strenuous activities?
- Do the arthritis symptoms, particularly the pain, intensify later in the day?
- Do you experience stiffness and general discomfort around the joints even while resting?
Answering all of the above questions will help you determine what caused these arthritis symptoms to occur in the first place. Some people take the first action by “doctoring” themselves, taking over the counter painkillers, rubbing on arthritis creams, applying ice packs, using heating pads, and the like. But self-treatment is strongly discouraged upon since there’s a higher chance that a patient may wait too long before consulting a doctor.
Where does it hurt?
Arthritis is a disease of the joints, hence, arthritis symptoms will most likely affect the joints. The joint is that area where two or more bones meet. Joints of the body commonly affected by arthritis symptoms include the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and hips. In some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms could also occur in the joints of the spinal column. Additionally, rare cases of arthritis may affect the skin (psoriatic arthritis) as well as other organs of the body.
Next to pain, the most common arthritis symptoms are inflammation. The inflammation is often accompanied by pain, redness, heat, and swelling. Although inflammation can make things very inconvenient for the person suffering from such arthritis symptoms, the process itself is actually the body’s basic response to injury.
Usually, inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system gets to work, bringing plasma proteins and phagocytes (or white blood cells that engulf and consume foreign material and debris) to the injured area. The reason is primarily to initiate tissue repair.
However, with arthritic inflammation, the immune system is at fault since instead of defending it attacks the surrounding tissue, triggering the inflammatory response.
Only a few types of arthritis actually display this particular symptom, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
Joint Deformity and Loss of Range of Motion
In some types of arthritis, the friction caused by the movement of bones in the joints stimulates the cartilage and surrounding connective tissue to produce new bone outgrowth. These outgrowths are known as spurs and are one of the major arthritis symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Another tell tale sign of arthritis is bow legged, a condition wherein the legs curve outwards as a result of an arthritic knee. Most arthritis causes the loss of full range of motion, leaving patients mostly immobile and in severe cases even permanently disabled. In order to avoid this from happening, consult your doctor and determine what appropriate steps to take to halt disease progression.
Good Diet for Arthritis Relief
For a long time now, doctors have known that diet can affect gout, a common type of arthritis where the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints of the body causes inflammation, swelling, and pain. But, there is no conclusive evidence of the effects of diet for arthritis relief.
On the other hand, it has long been established that a good diet can only contribute to overall health. This means then that a good diet comes into play when it comes to arthritis relief. Other factors that also play important roles in arthritis relief are weight and nutrition.
A person’s weight can affect certain types of arthritic conditions. If a person is overweight, the joints will be forced to carry more load. The bigger the load, the more pain it is going to cost the arthritic joints.
The weight adds stress to the joints, leading to overuse, which could in turn lead to more wear and tear to components, such as the cartilage and ligaments, causing pain.
All this can be avoided if you eat a well-balanced diet. Observing proper nutrition can have a positive effect on arthritis, reducing the suffering that the patient suffers.
What to Eat
To make sure that you are eating properly, it is best if you keep a well-balanced dietary plan. You can seek help from healthcare providers if you do not know the first thing about diets.
For starters, however, you can begin with foods that are rich in Vitamins B5, B6, B12, C and E (antioxidants), and vitamin K (improves bone health).
Balance these foods well with vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal applications. There are several independent studies that show how arthritis relief is better achieved if you increase doses of certain minerals in a person’s diet.
The minerals that you may want to consider for arthritis relief include boron, calcium, copper, magnesium, copper, germanium, and sulfur.
As for manganese, be sure not to take this with calcium as there have been reports that both minerals taken simultaneously may have adverse effects.
Alternatively, food supplements, glucosamine, and chondroitin may also contribute to arthritis relief. The National Institutes of Health has conducted a study on these specific minerals.
They found that they can relieve the symptoms of pain and stiffness for some persons with osteoarthritis.
However, patients who are taking blood thinners should take care in taking chondroitin as it is found that it can increase the blood thinning and cause excessive bleeding.
Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available