Joints refer to the parts of the body where your bones meet each other, particularly in the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. These connections allow the bones to move around. However, as you grow older, you may start to experience pain and discomfort emanating from these joints. People often see this developing joint pain as a normal part of aging and would not really make much of a fuss over it. However, these symptoms might also indicate the development of arthritis. What exactly causes this pain and discomfort in the joints and how would you get relief?
The reason behind the pain in your knees
As previously mentioned, joint pain can simply be a normal part of aging. But, it can also signal a possible arthritis symptom. To know if your joint pain is related to arthritis, you need to take a closer look at four major factors that are common among all patients with arthritis.
Joint swelling. People with arthritis often experience inflammation in the joints, leading to their swelling as well. If this swelling persists for more than three days, or occurs more than three times per month, it is highly likely that you have arthritis. If this happens, consult your local health practitioner as soon as possible.
Joint stiffness. One of the very first indicators of arthritis happens to be stiffness in the joints. This particular factor is noticeable when patients wake up in the morning or when they are inactive for a long period.
Joint pain. Pain in arthritis is unique in the fact that it does not really have a specific pattern to follow. Some patients may experience fleeting pain that comes and goes while others suffer from constant pain. In addition, patients can even experience pain while they are resting or when they are moving and is not limited to one region of the body.
Difficulty in moving or decreased joint flexibility. All of the three factors above can make it quite difficult to move your joints, making every small movement an ordeal to get through.
Of the four factors, pain is the most prominent symptom among arthritis patients and can develop into a serious problem that affects various parts of your life. Listed below are the four types of arthritis that cause a lot of pain to patients.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. This type of arthritis is the most common type found in patients over the age of 50. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis affects over 30 million adults in the United States alone. Osteoarthritis is often referred to as the "wear and tear" disease because the cushioning in the joints — referred to as cartilage — begins to wear off as you grow older. This causes the joints to grow stiff and lose their elasticity. It also makes the joints more prone to damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). While this is another common type of arthritis, it is very different from osteoarthritis. RA is known to develop in joints present on both sides of the body, a property unique only to this variation of arthritis. Researchers consider RA as an autoimmune disease, meaning that it develops as a result of the body's immune system attacking its own tissue. This arthritis is often associated with early death, but an early diagnosis and proper treatment can prevent or even slow down its progression.
Fibromyalgia. This form of arthritic disorder can lead to pain and tenderness in various parts of the body. This is usually accompanied by sleeping issues and fatigue.
Polymyalgia rheumatica. Considered less common than other types of arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica involves joint pain and stiffness in large joints of the body like the hip and shoulders.
Natural ways to relieve arthritis pain
Many types of arthritis are considered chronic, so it is important to find ways to deal with the pain associated with these conditions. Unfortunately, there is no be-all, end-all solution that can completely eliminate pain in those suffering from arthritis. However, there are certain strategies you can adopt that can help make the pain more manageable. (Related: Arthritis pain? Get relief at home with these natural remedies.)
Stay physically active by following a routine that focuses on moderate-level exercise.
Always stretch before doing a workout to maintain a good range of motion in your joints.
Keep your body weight within a healthy range to lessen the stress on your joints.
Learn more about joint pain and the diseases associated with it at Health.news.