If you have joint pain and stiffness on a regular basis, it’s possible you have arthritis. It’s a term we hear a lot, but what is arthritis and what causes it?
Actually, the term arthritis simply means inflammation in the joints. However, this can be caused by many different factors, and in fact there are over 100 different types of arthritis.
However, all types of arthritis typically cause pain, and you may also experience swelling, visible redness and limited motion.
Main types of arthritis
Although there are many types of arthritis, there are a few more common ones. Each has a different cause and may affect your joints differently. Let’s take a look.
Osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints wears down over time. Eventually, the bones may end up grinding against each other, causing pain and stiffness, and possibly compromising the bones themselves eventually. You may even hear a grinding noise coming from your joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis. This is another common type of arthritis. Here, the body’s own immune system attacks your joint capsules. These are the tissues that enclose and protect the joints themselves, along with the structures that help them move. Over time, rheumatoid can even destroy the bones, causing deformities.
Psoriatic arthritis. Here, arthritis symptoms are accompanied by psoriasis, a condition in which the skin becomes red and inflamed in patches, which are often covered with flaky white scales. Psoriatic arthritis often causes foot pain, swollen fingers and toes, as well as spondylitis, a condition in which the vertebrae in the back become inflamed and painful.
Fibromyalgia. This is a complex condition that involves all-over dull pain, and is often accompanied by fatigue, disordered sleep, moodiness and memory problems. You may also experience headaches, bowel issues and depression. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia. It is not well-understood, but it may be triggered by infection, an accident or severe psychological stress.
Gout. This occurs in men more than women, and occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. This is a normal waste product that your kidneys normally remove by way of urine, but in some people, the uric acid builds up and forms needle-shaped crystals in a joint, often in the big toe. Gout is extremely painful, and a flare-up can last about a week.
Lupus. This is an autoimmune condition that results in joint pain, swelling, rashes, hair loss, sensitivity to the sun, headache and fatigue. Women in their reproductive years most often get it, and although we don’t know what causes it, we do know that the symptoms are caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself instead of germs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in four adults have some form of arthritis. If you experience joint pain over time and it doesn’t go away or even gets worse, you’ll want to consult an experienced joint specialist for an accurate diagnosis.
While many types of arthritis can’t be cured, you can get relief. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, the doctor may recommend medication, therapy, bracing, lifestyle changes and may even offer you the option of innovative non-surgical treatments.
If joint pain is affecting your quality of life and you’re concerned you may have arthritis, consult the joint specialists at Flexogenix today.