Each year a staggering 54.4 million adults in the United States (about 22.7 percent) are told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50% of adults over the age of 65 are currently living with arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a painful degenerative joint disease that is the leading cause of disability among adults. It is characterized by inflammation in the joints, and causes mild to severe pain. As it progresses with age, arthritis can be extremely painful and crippling.
Adults who suffer from arthritis are two and half more times likely to experience a significant fall, than adults without arthritis.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the gradual wear on the joints and can be exacerbated by obesity.
Other common rheumatic conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout. In its late stages, arthritis can cripple the patient.
The Pain of Arthritis
For arthritis sufferers, the pain of the disease may be dull and throbbing, a burning pain, or even a pressure which some have described as similar to a boa constrictor squeezing your joints.
The pain is typically chronic, meaning it lasts three months or longer, however arthritis pain can last a lifetime. Dealing with pain on a daily basis can wear a person down, leading to fatigue. That fatigue can worsen the pain of arthritis, making it much more difficult to manage and harder to control.
Treatment of Arthritis
As of now, there is no cure for arthritis; therefore, all treatments center around alleviating the pain caused by this disease.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) are usually the first treatment for those who suffer from arthritis. These medications can help alleviate the chronic inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Regular exercise can also help keep the joints flexible, particularly low-impact activities such as yoga, walking and water aerobics. More severe pain may require stronger meds and corticosteroid injections to improve range of motion and quality of life. The most severe cases of arthritis could require a full joint replacement.