Arthritis, the second most common rheumatologic problem is also the most frequent joint ailment affecting the quality of life with a prevalence of around 40% among the population. It is a serious disease with significant financial and socioeconomic implications. World Arthritis Day is celebrated every year on October 12th to raise awareness about one of the prevalent health conditions, as among the commonly found health conditions that come with age is perhaps arthritis (or joint pain). Arthritis describes the conditions of joint pain, where there is an inflammation in the joints that affects one or multiple joints. Most common in adults above the age of 60-65 years, joint pain cases are attributed to weak bones, excessive weight, lack of nutrients, an injury or wrong posture.
Factors responsible for causing Arthritis
Attributing to innumerable reasons including lifestyle changes, obesity and increasingly ageing population the prevalence and complications related to arthritis are rising. Joint pains are often neglected until it causes distress or impaired quality of life, but still a greater number of young patients are presenting with this problem. Obesity is a key modifiable factor which should not be overlooked as the joints are burdened with at least three to six times the load bearing capacity. Arthritis is progressive disorder which starts gradually and worsens with time. Though joint related problems have always been an issue related to aging, but for a variety of reasons including poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, consumption of body building supplements and steroids in excessive quantities, a number of younger patients have been diagnosed with joint related ailments.
How to Prevent Arthritis?
Despite the high level of public interest in knowing how to prevent arthritis, there is no single strategy for avoiding this disease. In case of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis it is impossible to know how to prevent arthritis because the reason for the inappropriate activity of the immune system is not yet known. However the kind of diet that contributes to a healthy weight may also provide nutritional support for healthy joints.
Naturally occurring substances in garlic, cruciferous vegetables and omega 3 fats present in fishes can reduce the inflammation of joints that is characteristic of osteoarthritis. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used to support joint health, but they seem to be most effective in the early stages of osteoarthritis. Excess body weight is one of the major risk factors for arthritis. High-impact exercises may predispose you to osteoarthritis and arthritis pain. Avoiding injuries reduce the risk of developing arthritis later in life. It has been found that regular exercises have been very effective ways to prevent arthritis. Regular exercise strengthens your whole body and helps keep your joints flexible.
How Physiotherapy can help against Arthritis?
Physiotherapy is an ideal treatment for people suffering from arthritis to help relieve pain and regain mobility. Physiotherapists are experts when it comes to assessing movement and can help show how to take proper care of your joints. Physiotherapists examine the joints that are giving trouble to the patient and the assessment helps to design the affective treatment that suits the particular need of a patient.
Treatment usually consists of an exercise program as well as advice on how to gradually increase your mobility and activity as well as how to avoid any injuries related to exercise. The various physiotherapy treatment modalities for a sufferer of arthritis depending on condition include ice and/or heat packs, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines, hydrotherapy pools, manipulation, taping, massage, medications and acupuncture. Some patients are also prescribed splints or walking aids to help keep you independent and mobile.
The article was first published on CB Physiotherapy