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Arthritis



What is Arthritis

Arihritis means inflammation of a joint. There are over 100 types of arthritis. The three most common kinds of arthritis are:

Osteoarthritis: Is the most common type of arthritis usually middle-aged and older people. This is a noninflammatory degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of the jointís cartilage. The exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown.

Fibromyalgia: Is the second most common type of arthritis, mostly women; 70 to 90 percent of people who develop this disease are women aged 20 to 50. It is a disease involving pain in muscles or joints with no clinical signs of infection. It is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, and usually does not require surgery.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is a chronic, systemic disease with inflammatory changes occurring throughout the bodyís connective tissues. It is characterized by the inflammation of the membrane lining the joint, which leads to pain, stiffness, and swelling and can result in loss of movement, loss of shape and alignment and sometimes compete destruction of the joint. It affects three times more women than men.

Other serious and fairly common forms of arthritis include gout, systemic lupus erythematosus scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile arthritis.

Signs of Arthritis:

Pain from arthritis can be continuous or intermittent. Pain may occur after activity or exercise but it may also happen even if youíve been resting and still for a period of time. Pain may be concentrated in one spot or you may feel it all over your body. Joints may feel stiff and difficult to move. Daily chores such as climbing stairs and opening cans become a challenge. You may notice that pain is more severe during certain times of the day or after performing certain tasks. Some kinds of arthritis cause swelling or inflammation. The skin over the joint may appear swollen and red, and feel hot when touched. Arthritis may also cause fatigue.

Diagnosis:

Early diagnosis and treatment tailored to an individualís needs are crucial in slowing or preventing damage to joints. Only a physician can determine if you have arthritis and what type it is, after chemical examination & some laboratory test,X-rays etc .

Treatments:

Because there are so many types of arthritis, each type of arthritis has different symptoms and treatments. The good news is that many things work to help control arthritis. Care for arthritis often involves more than one type of treatment. Treatment may vary over time and may be different depending on the kind of arthritis. It is important that you begin treatment early and discuss treatment options with your doctor on a regular basis. Although finding the right treatment may take time, it will enable you to lead an active lifestyle. Treatments for arthritis can be divided into several categories including:

Medication: Many drugs, both prescriptions and over the counter medications, are used to treat arthritis. Common medications are aspirin,pain relievers ,anti-inflammatory, cortocosteroids, disease modifiers, and sleep medications.

Exercise: Regular exercise is important to keep the body moving and flexible. It helps to lessen pain, increase movement, reduce fatigue, and helps you look and feel better.

Heat or Cold: Use of heat or cold over joints provides short-term relief from pain and stiffness.

Pacing activities: Pacing helps protect your joints by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest so that your joints donít tire from the stress of repeated tasks.

Joint Protection: Joints can be protected by learning to use them in ways that avoid excess stress. One way of doing this is to avoid using sore and weak joints. Unless larger joints are sore, for example, it is best to use them when carrying heavy items. The second method is walking with assertive devices. Lastly, weight control helps ease pain by reducing stress on your joints.

Self Help skills: You can learn ways to better manage how arthritis affects you emotionally by talking about your feelings with family members and friends, doing mental exercises, and by joining your local arthritis support group.

Surgery: Most people will not need surgery, but in severe cases surgery is effective in eliminating pain when other treatment methods have failed & it can give a new lease to life to that joint & the affected person in general .
 

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