People with arthritis can have difficulty in everyday life with their ability to perform even mundane tasks that many people take for granted. Stiffness and pain can be chronic and hard to deal with. The medical community has been unable to find a cure, and has only found ways to manage the symptoms. This can be done by using home remedies, over the counter or prescription medications, physical therapy, and sometimes even joint repair or replacement surgery.
Causes of Pain
Having joint pain does not automatically mean you have arthritis. Bodily aches and pains can be caused by many things such as an injury, illness, or a job that requires physical labor like squatting and lifting. Joint pain should not be ignored, however. At the first sign of discomfort, see your doctor. Some types of arthritis can start causing joint damage before a person even feels any symptoms. So, seeing a doctor as soon as you realize there might be a problem is the best way to slow progression of joint disease. He or she will perform a physical exam and may also order x-rays, MRIs or blood work to try to determine the cause of your pain.
Don’t Ignore Symptoms
When joint pain continues without diagnosis or treatment, it can lead to irreversible damage. The longer you let it go, the more the cartilage wears away until you may be left with no option but joint replacement surgery. With a proper diagnosis, a doctor can set you on a course of treatment for your particular injury or issue. If it is, in fact, arthritis, the doctor may recommend medication to alleviate symptoms, as well as exercise or physical therapy to maintain mobility of your joints. Contrary to what some might think, physical activity is very beneficial to arthritis sufferers. Extreme sports or overtraining is not a smart move, but light exercise such as swimming, walking, jogging or biking can ease pain and stiffness and keep you mobile.
The Biggest Risk Factor
Being overweight is one of the main causes of arthritis, as the extra weight exerts more pressure and stress on the joints than they are able to handle. This causes the cartilage in the joints to break down until the bones are rubbing on each other, causing significant pain. Because of the obesity epidemic we are facing, joint replacement surgeries are happening in younger and younger patients and at higher numbers than ever before. Maintaining a healthy body weight through diet and exercise is one of the best ways to prevent arthritis.
Summing it Up
Joint pain and stiffness can have a variety of causes, and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Even if the pain is very mild or intermittent, it is important to determine the issue because treating the problem early will give you the best prognosis and help to preserve your mobility. Keep your activity level high, your eating healthy, shed extra pounds and look forward to many years of being in great physical shape.