3 Primary Types of Arthritis
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is chronic inflammation of a joint, or multiple joints, which can cause deterioration of cartilage and other structural abnormalities over time such as bone spurs. Between 2013-2015, 54.4 million (22.7%) adults had physician-diagnosed arthritis, and 23.7 million had arthritis-attributable activity limitations. There are hundreds of different kinds of arthritis with various causes; the most common type is Osteoarthritis, followed by Rheumatoid Arthritis, and then Psoriatic Arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis (OA): According to the CDC, Osteoarthritis affects nearly 32.5 million US adults, and is one of the most expensive conditions to treat when joint replacement is required. Joints that weight bear are most commonly affected, such as knees, hips, spine, and feet. OA can be caused by anything that put excess stress or “wear and tear,” such as injuries, obesity, or age. A sedentary lifestyle can also be a risk factor for OA.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune disease leading to inflammation of the joint lining causing pain, swelling, and stiffness which is often worse following rest. Wrists and hands are the most commonly affected areas, occurring symmetrically on both sides of the body. This type of arthritis can also cause overall fatigue and muscle weakness.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriasis is another autoimmune disease initially presenting as a dry, flaky, red skin rash that can spread to the joints causing inflammation and swelling. Other symptoms include nail bed changes and general fatigue.
Diagnosis of Arthritis:
- Arthritis is diagnosed through a combination of X-ray imaging, pattern of stiffness of the affected joint with rest and activity, as well as decreased function and range of motion.
How can physical therapy and physical activity help treat arthritis?
- Addressing muscle imbalances and strengthening surrounding musculature can decrease the stress placed on the affected joint
- Manual therapy can improve range of motion, decrease swelling and pain using soft tissue massage, traction, and joint mobilizations
- Physical therapy can help to improve daily function, slow the progression of arthritis, as well as decrease the risk of arthritis in the future through preventative care.
- Regular physical activity is an important strategy for relieving pain and maintaining or improving function in people with arthritis
- Nearly half of adults with arthritis report no leisure time physical activity. Not being physically active is detrimental for arthritis and is a risk factor for other chronic diseases.
- Regardless of the type of arthritis you are diagnosed with, the physical therapists at Live to Move can help you achieve your goals for the future and desired level of function
- Barbour, K. E., Helmick, C. G., Boring, M., & Brady, T. J. (2014). Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(9), 246-253. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6609e1
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BY: Live To Move
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