Arthritis : A well-known term with multiple myths

May is considered an arthritis month.

Arthritis is a common term used to describe joint pain, swelling and reduced range of motion.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Out of which, Osteoarthritis is the most common type. Another common type is Rheumatoid arthritis.Physical Therapy treatment options for osteoarthritis

It is crucial to understand that arthritis is not a type of a disease. Rather it is an informal way to discuss joint pain or swelling. It can affect any and every joint.

Some forms  have a very specific pattern of progression while others are not progression in nature for example Gout. Depending on the types, the symptoms can be continuous or they may come and go. Additionally, the symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe.

Usually women are more prone to develop arthritis, mainly the osteoarthritis type of arthritis.

Juvenile arthritis is a type of arteries that affect the kids.

There are autoimmune types  where the body’s own immune system attacks the healthy cells and causes symptoms to image.  Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis.

Additionally there is an infectious arthritis where infection is spread from one part of the body to the other part of the body or a joint.

It can also run in families and so term hereditary arthritis. This can be a type of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Ankylosing spondylitis is another form that affects the vertebrae of the spine.

Diagnostic criteria :

Regardless of the types, a diagnosis usually is done in one of the following ways.

  • X ray of the joint
  • C reactive Protein Test
  • MRI
  • Synovial fluid analysis

A common type like OA or RA is diagnosed with lesser diagnostic tools. While complex types or a rare forms need very specific criteria for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Strategies:

Physical therapy is the most commonly used conservative treatment approach with the best outcomes.

Along with Physical therapy, pain management, injection, analgesics as well as NSAIDS are other treatment options available to the patients.

Surgery like cartilage repairs, joint replacements, as well as spinal fusion are recommended on the severe cases to improve quality of life of the patient.


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NOTE: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.