It is an inflammation of the joint .It can affect one or multiple joints of the body. There are more than hundred different types of arthritis with different causes. The most common ones are
a) osteo- arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis may appear over the time but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is commonly seen in adults over the age of 65 but it can also develop in children, teens and young adults. It is more common in women than men who are overweight
Causes of arthritis:
Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in joints. It protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in normal amount of the cartilage tissue causes severe form of arthritis .Normal wear and tear causes osteo-arthritis which is one of the most common forms of arthritis.
An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate the natural break down of cartilage tissues .The risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of this disease.
This is another common form of arthritis. It is an auto immune disorder. It occurs when body immune system attacks tissues of the body. The attack affects the synovia which is a soft tissue in the joint which produces a fluid which nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints. The exact cause of immune systems attack is unknown but scientists have discovered some genetic markers that increase the risk of developing RA ten folds.
Symptoms of Arthritis:
Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are most symptom of arthritis. The range of motion may also decrease and person may experience redness of skin around the joints. In case of rheumatic arthritis a person feel tired, experience loss of appetite due to inflammation produced by the abnormal action of the immune system.one may also become anemic due to reduced RBC .One may also have a low grade fever. Severe RA can cause joint deformity if left untreated.
How it is diagnosed?
First of all doctors does a physical examination and checks for fluid around the joint, he also looks for reason of red joints and limited range of motion of joint. Extracting and analyzing inflammation level in a person’s blood and joint fluid can help doctor to determine the kind of arthritis. Imaging techniques such as x-rays, MRI’s, CT scans are also helpful in diagnoses.
How is it treated?
The main aim of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain and prevent additional damage to the joint. Combination of treatments method may be applied to achieve this result.
- MEDICATION:- A number of different types of medication are used to treat arthritis
a)Analgesics: these are effective for pain management but they don’t help in reducing inflammation
b)Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs:- They help in controlling pain and inflammation.
c)Menthol or Capsaicin Cremes:- They block the transmission of pain signals from the joints
d)Corticosteroids or DMARDS (Disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs)- These are used for the patients suffering from rheumatic arthritis. These drugs suppress the immune system
- SURGERY :- Replacing the joint with artificial one can be a option. It is most commonly preferred to replace knee and hips joints. For small joints like finger and wrist joints fusion may be preferred.
- PHYSICAL THERAPY : - This involves exercise that helps in strengthening the muscles and the joints. This is the core component of this treatment.
There is no cure for arthritis but right treatment can greatly reduce the symptoms.
No. of lifestyle changes can be made to help manage the disease.
- Regular exercise keeps the joint flexible.
- Swimming is good exercise because it does not put pressure on joint unlike running etc.
- Weight loss help to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis development.
- Eat food with lot of antioxidants.
- Heating pads, ice packs, can walkers can be used to give relief the patients.
Yoga asanas are very beneficial in management of arthritis. Following asanas can be practiced daily under the specification of an expert:
- Uttith (supt) bhekasan
- Uttith parshwa Konasana
- Uttanasana (with support)
- Jathar parivartanasan
- Supt pad angusthan
- Setubandh sarwangasana
- Rope (I and II)
- Elbow traction