Arthritis causes pain and inflammation in the joints. There are many different types of arthritis but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms.
- Gradual onset
- Pain in hips, knees, fingers, spine and other joints
- Pain worsens with movement
- Loss of joint motion as condition worsens
- Grating sensation
- Sometimes shooting pains down arms or legs
What causes arthritis?
Osteoarthritis arises when the cartilage (the connective tissue) between the bones wastes away causing the bones to painfully rub against each other where they join.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the joints causing the bone and cartilage to gradually breakdown, leading to swelling, pain and weakness. The cause of RA remains unknown.
How is arthritis treated?
There is no cure for arthritis so most treatments are aimed at slowing down the condition’s progress.
Osteoarthritis is often helped with analgesics (painkillers), non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen that relieve pain and help decrease inflammation or with prescribed corticosteroids (steroids). Surgery is occasionally recommended for joint fusion or joint replacement.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is also treated with painkillers and with prescription only Diseases modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) which not only treat the symptoms but also slow down progressive joint destruction.
Physiotherapy may also be offered and and regular exercise is generally encouraged.