What is Arthritis and Joint Diseases?
Arthritis is a term that includes a group of disorders that affect your joints and muscles. Arthritis symptoms include joint pain, inflammation and limited movement of joints. When a joint is inflamed it may be swollen, tender, warm to the touch or red. Surrounding each joint is a protective capsule holding a lubricating fluid to aid in motion. Cartilage, a slippery smooth substance, covers most joints to assure an even, fluid motion of the joint. With joint arthritis, the cartilage may be damaged, narrowed and lost by a degenerative process or by inflammation making movement painful.
For most people arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis. Joints naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can be managed through a combination of medication, exercise, rest, weight-management, nutrition, and, in some cases, surgery.
Arthritis is a chronic disease that can stay with you for a long time and possibly for the rest of your life if holistic approaches are not applied.. Your treatments will probably change over time and medication may be adjusted. Having a positive mental outlook and the support of family and friends will help you live with arthritis and be able to continue to perform your daily activities. Arthritis is not just 1 disease; it is a complex disorder that comprises more than 100 distinct conditions and can affect people at any stage of life.
Types of Arthritis and Joint diseases includes the following:
Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis occurs in the joints especially in the hands and the weight bearing parts of the body. Joints include knee, hip and the spine. This type of arthritis occurs because of the break down in cartilage. Cartilage is a tissue that cushions the ends of bones within the joint. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage begins to fray and may entirely wear away. Osteoarthritis can cause joint pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is a type of chronic or long-lasting disease which mainly affects the joints in the body. Here in this type the immune system of the body causes the swelling in the joints. This inflammation then spreads to surrounding tissues damaging the cartilage and the bones. This creates the pain, stiffness, swelling joint damage and loss of function of some of the bones.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a rare type of arthritis which mainly affects the children. It causes the pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of function of the joints. The reason for the cause for this type of arthritis is not known till now. But it is considered that it is an autoimmune disease.
Gout: Gout is created because of the deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid in the joints. These crystals cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in the affected joint, which is often the big toe. Apart from toe it affects foot, ankle, knee etc.
Infectious Arthritis: This type of arthritis is caused by infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses. Early diagnosis and treatment with for this arthritis can get rid of the infection and minimize damage to the joints.
Psoriatic Arthritis: This type of arthritis occurs in patients with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis often affects the joints at the ends of the fingers and toes. Back pain will occur if the spine is involved.
Fibromyalgia: This causes a widespread pain at tender points such as head, neck, spine, hips, elbows and shoulders of the body. These points of the body are highly sensitive to touch and produce pain. People with fibromyalgia usually have fatigue, disturbed sleep and stiffness. Fibromyalgia does not cause any joint or muscle damage.
Lupus: It is a type of disease that mainly affects the skin and the joints and in some cases it may affect the internal organs also such as the kidneys, lungs or heart. Women are more affected by these diseases than their counterparts.
Bursitis and tendinitis: Bursitis and tendinitis are caused by irritation from injuring or overusing a joint. Bursitis affects a small sac called the bursa that helps to cushion the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint. Tendinitis affects the tendons that attach muscle to bone.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: This is a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis. It causes the pain and stiffness in the back it is caused because of the swelling and the irritation of the spinal joints. These causes can eventually limit the mobility of the joints.
Reactive arthritis: This is a temporary inflammation of the joints as a reaction to an infection elsewhere in the body.
Polymyalgia Rheumatica: This is an inflammatory condition affecting the muscles and soft tissues in the shoulder and upper arm, buttocks and thighs. It causes tiredness, stiffness, loss of weight and occasionally circulation problems.
How does the treatment work?
Apart from a detailed medical history and physical examination, the doctor will recommend various tests to evaluate and diagnose the condition. These include :
Blood test for C-reactive protein (elevated in Osteoarthritis). It is also a good predictor of progression of Osteoarthritis.
ESR and test for Rheumatoid factor to exclude Rheumatoid arthritis.
X-ray of the affected joint which may show loss of joint space, bony marginal limping and bony projection (spurs).
Synovial fluid examination to rule out infection. Presence of cartilage cells in synovial fluid is an indicator of OA.
Arthroscopy: TO visualize the joint internally.
CT scan or MRI of the affected joint .
Management of Osteoarthritis.
Controlling body weight.
Taking medication regularly as advised by the doctor.
Eat healthy: Take high intake of antioxidants specially vitamin C that reduces the progression of osteoarthritis. Calcium and vitamin D intake should be adequate.
Taking adequate rest
Avoiding joint overuse or repetitive injury .
Exercise, Isometric (physical exercises in which muscles are made to act against a fixed object) strengthening of supporting muscles around joints may be helpful. Swimming is the best form of aerobic exercise for those with osteoarthritis of hip or knees. Running should be avoided.
Yoga and other alternative therapies have been scientifically documents to complement the use of drugs.
Some of the Treatments for Arthritis and Joint disease at Josan Holistic Hospital
Yoga Exercise and Physical Therapy: Yoga and exercise programs combined with massage and rest is recommended for people suffering from arthritis. Physical therapy can also be prescribed to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. Physical therapy may include relaxation therapy, hydrotherapy and other therapies to reduce pain, muscle tension and stiffness.
Panchkarma, Accupuncture, Reflexology: Application of different oils and hot and cold packs is used to reduce inflammation, stiffness and pain. Other methods include massages, nutrition and nutritional supplements. Assistive devices such as splints, braces and canes are used to ease pain.
Medications: No steroidal and strong anti-inflammatory medicine are used at JHH. But natural herbs and Homoeopathic medicine are used for pain and inflammation.
There are many options today for treating arthritis. A patient’s role in the treatment by self-management is encouraged in the treatment.
Following Integrated methods used at JHH to manage Arthritis and Joint Diseases.
Homoeopathy, Pranyog, Herbal Medicine, Panchkarma, Acupuncture, Nature Cure, Reflexology and Gurubani Healing.