Hurting Joints

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Arthritis is a joint disorder that involves the inflammation of one or more joints. The most common types are
·         Osteoarthritis:  This form occurs when the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones wears down over time. It affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joints.
·         Rhematoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of joints. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints.
Other types of arthritis include cervical spondylosis, fibromyalgia, gout and psoriatic arthritis. Risk factors for the occurrence of arthritis include genetic predisposition, obesity, inactivity, joint damage or ligament injuries, infection, occupation and childhood disorders that lead to bone malalignment causing joint degeneration. Depending on the type of arthritis, symptoms may develop suddenly or gradually and may include reddening, swelling, pain and stiffness in joints. This can result in premature mortality, disability and compromised quality of life.
Use of hot and cold compresses (heat eases blood flow while cold curbs swelling and inflammation), weight loss and exercise can aid speedy relief. Drugs such as analgesics, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, corticosteroids and counter-irritants may interfere with pain from the joints. Acupuncture, massage and meditation are non-pharmacological therapies that can be used to minimize pain. Surgery may also be performed for joint fusion or replacement.
Maintaining a good body weight and taking diet rich in protein, calcium, vitamins D and C are good for the joints. Protecting your joints from injuries or overuse can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. These can help to prevent arthritis.
The care of your joints is in your hands, take action!

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