Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation within a joint. In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis. The condition affects people of all ages including children. There are many different types of arthritis that cause a wide range of symptoms. Two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK, affecting an estimated 8.5 million people. In people affected by osteoarthritis, the cartilage (connective tissue) between their bones gradually wastes away, leading to painful rubbing of bone on bone in the joints. The most frequently affected joints are in the hands, spine, knees and hips. Osteoarthritis often develops in people who are over 50 years of age. However, it can develop at any age as a result of an injury or another joint-related condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe, but less common, form of arthritis than osteoarthritis. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the affected joints, causing pain and swelling to occur. This can lead to a reduction in movement and the breakdown of bone and cartilage. In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 people, and often starts in people between the ages of 40 and 50 years old. Women are three times more likely to be affected by the condition than men.
There are many different symptoms of arthritis and the symptoms you experience will vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. However, common arthritic symptoms include:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. With rheumatoid arthritis, something seems to trigger the immune system to attack the joints and sometimes other organs of the body. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. Some theories suggest that a virus or bacteria may alter the immune system, causing it to attack the joints. Some theories suggest that a virus or bacteria may alter the immune system, causing it to attack the joints. Other theories suggest that smoking may lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Research hasn't completely determined exactly what role genetics plays in rheumatoid arthritis. However, some people do seem to have a genetic or inherited factor that increases their chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is a major cause of lost work time and serious disability for many people. Although arthritis is mainly a disease of adults, children may also have it. Arthritis is a disease of the joint. A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet. The knee joint, for example, is formed between the bones of the llower leg (the tibia and the fibula) and the thighbone (the femur). The hip joint is where the top of the thighbone (femoral head) meets a concave portion of the pelvis (the acetabulum).
There is no cure for arthritis but there are a number of treatments that can help slow down the condition’s progress. Medication can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
But what about addressing the severe pain that arthritis suffers have to endure every day? Do you really want to pump your body full of analgesics (painkillers) and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) when physiotherapy, regular exercise and a pain relief treatment like scenar therapy can help relieve the painful symptoms.