DO YOU HAVE ARTHRITIS?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN
Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness in the morning, which typically worsens with age. It can occur in any joint of the body; fingers, shoulders, neck and back, knees, ankles etc. There are several types of arthritis, the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage break down in joints due to wear and tear. More likely seen in people with excess body weight and/or aged.
Post traumatic arthritis : Post-traumatic arthritis is secondary osteoarthritis that forms after a specific injury to a joint. Symptoms can present as long as 2-5 years from injury.
Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that, over time, can cause some of the small bones in your spine (vertebrae) to fuse.
Reactive Arthritis (ReA): Reactive arthritis is joint pain and swelling triggered by an infection in another part of your body — most often your intestines, genitals or urinary tract. ReA usually targets your knees and the joints of your ankles and feet. Inflammation also can affect your eyes, skin and urethra
Enteropathic Arthritis (EA): Enteropathic arthritis describes joint inflammation that occurs in association with inflammatory bowel disorders (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. EA can be very different from one person to another. The symptoms depend on how the disease presents in each person. The most common presentation of EA causes arthralgia, or aches all over the body but there is no inflammation or swollen joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis: A chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects the joints. Common among women.
Gout: Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. This is more common in men than women.
Pseudo gout: Pseudo gout is a form of arthritis characterized by sudden, painful swelling in one or more of your joints. These episodes can last for days or weeks. The most commonly affected joint is the knee. Also called calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease or CPPD, the common term pseudo gout was coined for the condition’s similarity to gout
Septic arthritis : Septic arthritis is a painful infection in a joint.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis in children under the age of 16. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause persistent joint pain, swelling and stiffness.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH TYPE OF ARTHRITIS I HAVE?
You are probably wondering which type of arthritis you may have. Usually you will not be able to tell whether it is arthritis or just regular joint pain. You will be diagnosed by your doctor. He will request for X-rays, MRIs, and lab investigations all to know what exactly is causing your joint pain.
WHAT CAUSED IT and HOW DO I PREVENT IT?
Arthritis is known to be idiopathic (without a known cause), and at any age. In some cases, something in your clinical history or lifestyle or a combination of both could contribute to your arthritis.
There are a number of factors that could be responsible for your arthritis if you’re susceptible to it:
- Physically demanding jobs can increase your risk of osteoarthritis, more so if it involves heavy and repetitive activity.
- Previous injury to a joint can also increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
- Infections, illness or an allergic reaction can cause short-lived arthritis.
- Some diets seem to make arthritis worse in people with Rheumatoid arthritis for example. It helps to observe and know what to eat and what no to.
- Certain Infection (Bacterial or Viral) can move from bloodstream into synovial fluid and attack the joints.e.g tuberculosis. People with Psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Previous Injury to a joint that does not heal well can lead to arthritis in the future.
- Genetic factors; According to arthritis research UK, children can inherit genes from a parent who suffers arthritis. Predisposing them to also having it.
Arthritis cannot always be prevented. The risk of arthritis can be reduced by altering eating habits and proper exercise.
TREATMENT PHYSIOTHERAPY OFFERS
HOW WILL PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP ME
Physiotherapy is helpful during both the exacerbation of symptoms as well as recovery. There are varied modalities we can use coupled with application of knowledge to advice on its management.
Patient education – this done to promote joint protection and proper body mechanics when performing activities of daily living (ADLs). The aim of physiotherapy is to arrest stiffness and prevent further deformities as well as immobility.
- EXERCISE THERAPY: exercises designed for arthritis are either for pain relief, flexibility, strength, to increase tone or to improve mobility.
REGULAR AEROBIC ACTIVITY: Aerobic exercise should include low impact activities, such as swimming, walking, or recumbant bike, depending on the patient’s cardiovascular level. This may be done to reduce your weight if it is part of the causes of your arthritic knee.
NO WEIGHT BEARING: You may be advised to take a break, to decrease the inflammation and limit the pressure of the body on the inflamed joints.
- CRYOTHERAPY: cryotherapy/ice therapy may be used to relieve pain or reduce swelling. At prescribed intervals, ice is effective in managing pain in many conditions.
- HEAT THERAPY (DRY HEAT/MOIST HEAT): the main purpose for heat therapy is to improve circulation, make underlying tissues more pliable and ultimately relieve pain. Your Physiotherapist is likely to recommend heat to you if there is no ongoing swelling.
- SOFT TISSUE MOBILIZATION/MASSAGE: massage when done together with heat relaxes underlying tissues, clears the tissue of toxic waste causing pain, breaks stiffness and relieves pain. The type of massage your therapist will do for you is less likely to be a full body massage, he/she will pick the segment affected and mobilize the tissues there for required therapeutic effect.
- ULTRASOUND/SHOCKWAVE: these are two different modalities that work using similar mechanisms. They are used to break adhesions, scar tissue, reduce swelling (ganglionic origin) and relieve pain in joints, ligaments, tendons and pain originating from capsule.
- TRANSELECTRO MUSCULAR NERVE STIMULATION (TENS): as a commonly used modality your therapist is likely to use TENS for pain relieve and improve muscle strength. Mostly pain arising from muscle and nerve origins.
- KINESIOTAPING: taping may also be done for pain, swelling, and strengthening. Your therapist may use it to augment the treatment program designed for you.
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- https://physio-pedia.com/Arthritis (23/10/2020)
- https://www.physio-pedia.com/Post-traumatic_arthritis (30/10/2020)
- https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ (31/10/2020)