alleviating arthritis pain

Living with arthritis can be over-whelming, not only for you - but for family, friends and co-workers. Arthritis refers to an inflammation of the joints. It is known by many names - comprising over 100 diseases and conditions, most of which are associated with pain or stiffness. Arthritis is a chronic pain disease that directly affects millions of Americans. Reports indicate that 40 million Americans suffer with osteoarthritis alone. The most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (often referred to as, Degenerative Joint Disease).
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that causes the immune system to attack its own joints. Osteoarthritis on the other hand, consists of a low-grade inflammation that wears down cartilage and decreases the amount of synovial fluid (both cushion and lubricate the joint areas). The changes in cartilage cause it to break down faster than the body can produce it. When cartilage breaks down, the bones rub together and cause damage and pain. Common areas of the body that develop degenerative joints are in the spine, especially in the lower neck and lower back, knees, hips and fingers. People describe their symptoms as pain, stiffness (typically in the morning), muscle weakness (especially in the knee), swelling (tender and sore joints), reduced range-of-motion and as hearing cracking or creaking sounds. If weight-bearing joints, such as the hips or knees are involved, mobility can be affected. Therefore, it is crucial to seek arthritis treatment as soon as possible, to avoid the need for surgery.
Arthritis can affect a person at any age, as observed in the x-rays of many people who are 20 years young. Common causes of arthritis include a genetic predisposition, overabundance of microorganisms, build-up of toxins, decreased gut integrity, obesity, poor diet, hormonal imbalances (low estrogen - menopause), trauma, decreased nerve function, lack of exercise and “wear and tear” of the joint (resulting from certain occupations and activities). Joints that do not move properly due to a misalignment of the bones, must not be overlooked, as a major factor in developing arthritis.
If you are seeking arthritis relief a physical examination and diagnostic tests will help to formulate an accurate arthritis diagnosis. Diagnostic options include x-rays, chiropractic and physical therapy evaluations, blood and urine testing, along with a thorough health history and discussion of symptoms. Arthritis treatment is created to suit the age, build, pain levels and general health of the patient. Arthritis treatment options for people with mild to moderate arthritis, may include…
Chiropractic: Physical manipulation allow joints to be directly adjusted - reducing pain and stiffness. By correcting joint and spine dislocations, chiropractic adjustments help increase range-of-motion. Massage (increases flexibility and circulation), Heat Therapy (increases blood flow and relaxes tissue), Cold Therapy (reduces swelling and pain) and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation which stimulates pain-inhibiting chemicals in the body).
Physical Therapy and Exercise: The focus is on pain relief, healing, restoring function and movement and to improve body mechanics. Assistive devices and orthotics, such as tape, braces or splints can help protect joints from further injury and take stress off of joints. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility, muscle strength and endurance. Range-of-Motion Exercises help to maintain normal joint movement, relieve stiffness and increase flexibility; Strengthening Exercises help increase muscle strength and Endurance or Aerobic Exercises improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight and improve overall function. The side effect of exercise is weight reduction, which will place less pressure on joints.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): TCM is based on the belief that the body needs to be in balance to remain healthy. Pain and illness occur when the body is out of balance and there is a disturbance in the body’s energy. TCM treatments - acupuncture, herbal medicine and various types of massage, focus on returning the body to a delicate balance.