Arthritis is a type of joint disorder. What makes it stand out from other joint disorders is the inflammation that causes varying levels of pain. There are a lot of different types of arthritis that exist. There is psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and septic arthritis, just to name a few. There are over 100 different types of arthritis in all.
Symptoms for arthritis can include: swelling, joint stiffness, varied levels of pain, tenderness, poor sleep, inability to use hands, weight loss, inability to walk, muscle aches, difficulty moving joints, decreased aerobic fitness, loss of flexibility, diarrhea, urethritis, cutaneous lesions, cutaneous nodules, ocular inflammation, orogenital ulceration and tenosynovitis.
The pain from arthritis is caused by inflammation. This inflammation can be a result of several factors. It can be caused by simply the daily use of the joint. Over time the joint becomes inflamed. Disease can cause damage to joints and lead to inflammation. Forceful movements against muscles that strain them can also cause inflammation. Fatigue can also cause inflammation of the joints and lead to pain. Finally, infection can also lead to having arthritis.
Treatment for arthritis can sometimes include surgery in order to fix joint damage that may have occurred as a result. Generally though, it includes exercise, rest, drugs, physical and/or occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is all about learning how to protect your joints doing the same things you have always done. The job of an occupational therapist is to help you learn and apply these things to your daily life. It may include: using grabs bars in the shower and bath, using stronger muscles and joints instead of the weakened ones, learning to avoid positions that your joints don’t like (i.e. that cause strain), using modified canes, doorknobs and walkers, using supports and braces to help protect joints, and using tools that help with using zippers, pulling up socks and opening jars.
Two of the main purposes of using drugs to treat arthritis is to lessen inflammation and reduce pain. Your doctor may suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or simply just acetaminophen, depending on how problematic your arthritis is. Corticosteroid joint injections may also be used to reduce the pain. Hyaluronic acid solution may also be injected into your joints, again, depending on how serious your arthritis is. Some patients respond to antibiotics for infectious arthritis. A number of alternative medicines can also be used.
There is also non-medical treatment that has been found to be effective in treating arthritis. Namely, cognitive behavioral therapy that aims at reducing the emotional and psychological pain that is caused by arthritis. This therapy usually includes behavioral modification, education and relaxation techniques as part of its repertoire.
For the most part, arthritis cannot be cured. It is a progressive disease. However, if treated properly it is possible to draw out the time before it becomes too painful and crippling. Septic arthritis is one of the only forms of arthritis that can be treated. It is an infection and antibiotics can cure it.