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How Can I Prevent And Treat Arthritis?

With the goal to bring more awareness to arthritis and help make people more aware of the issues that are involved. Arthritis is an umbrella term for over 100 diseases and conditions known as rheumatic diseases. Arthritis affects the joints and the musculoskeletal system. Common forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, infectious arthritis and juvenile arthritis. About 1 in 5 American adults has been diagnosed with arthritis. Here are some of the basic facts about this disease and tips on how to manage or prevent pain.

What causes arthritis? 

A joint is where a bone moves on another bone. Ligaments hold the bones together, while cartilage covers the bone surface to prevent rubbing. Arthritis is caused by something going wrong with your joints. This includes cartilage wearing away, lack of fluid, or an infection.

Who is most at risk?

Arthritis unfortunately is the leading cause of disability here in the U.S. People of all ages, races and ethnicities can be affected but it is more common among older adults (65 or older). It is also more common among women (26%) versus men (19%). An obese adult is more likely to experience symptoms than a normal or underweight adult. Here are some of the most common risk factors:

  • Age- risk increases with age
  • Gender- females are more likely to have it
  • Genetics- there are genes associated with higher risk of certain types
  • Overweight/obesity- excess weight can often lead to knee osteoarthritis
  • Joint injuries- damaged joints can develop arthritis
  • Infection- arthritis can develop if joints are infected
  • Occupation- repetitive bending and squatting can cause osteoarthritis

Why is awareness important?

52.5 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with arthritis, this number is expected to rise to 67 million by 2030. Many of the sufferers have activity limitations, have been hospitalized, have work limitations and health complications. As our population continues to age, we need to find ways to relieve the symptoms and learn ways to prevent the disease.

This disease causes joints to swell and causes pain, stiffness, and loss of function. There is a likelihood that you will develop a form of arthritis during your lifetime (45%). Arthritis commonly occurs with other diseases/conditions including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. As people with arthritis are less likely to be physically active, it puts people at risk for developing these other conditions and being at risk for other health problems.

How can I prevent and treat arthritis?

There are many things you can do to help manage and reduce pain from arthritis. Here are a few:

  • Exercise- although many arthritis sufferers are scared to workout because of increased pain, exercise actually helps provide a higher quality of life. Walking, biking, and swimming have many benefits.
  • Maintain a healthy weight- obesity can be a risk factor for arthritis. If you are overweight, weight loss can help you manage symptoms.
  • Pain medications- medications can help with comfort, but do little to change the state of the disease.
  • Hydrotherapy- water therapy can help decrease pain and stiffness. Exercise in a pool or hot tub can take weight off of painful joints.
  • Rest- pain can indicate you need rest. Listen to your body and allow time to recharge.
  • Massage therapy- massage can sooth muscles and decrease joint inflammation.
  • Meditation- these techniques can help relieve stress and allow you to relax.
  • Chiropractic- can help with pain management and maximize quality of life.

How can Chiropractic care help? 

This treatment can help with the issue of getting your body to move more freely. Chiropractic helps teach your body to heal itself. When spine and joint misalignments are corrected, your range of motion will improve drastically. This will help your body move easier with less pain. Spinal manipulation can help reduce pain caused by these diseases as it will ease stiffness, decrease fluid in the joints and help with movement.

Arthritis is a disease affecting millions of Americans. Utilizing Chiropractic care to help manage the symptoms and the pain can have multiple benefits and increase the overall quality of life.

- Dr. Joel D. Vranna, D.C.

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