Dealing with Arthritis

Arthritis can be disruptive to you or your family member’s quality of life. It is a progressive condition that causes pain and inflammation around the joints. Many people associate arthritis with old age. In fact, it can strike anyone at any stage of life. Two-thirds of people diagnosed with a form of arthritis are under the age of 65. A significant number in this group are children.

Identifying Arthritis

Arthritis can take on many forms in the human body. Three common types of arthritis include:
• Osteoarthritis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Juvenile arthritis

Osteoarthritis features a degeneration of joint cartilage over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation of membranes lining the joint. Juvenile arthritis encompasses several autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that develop in the joints for children aged 16 or younger.

Invisible Pain

Symptoms of arthritis are not obvious to others, but they bring constant pain that makes dealing with it a daily struggle. It causes fatigue that interferes with work, school and family life. Arthritis increases joint stiffness. It can also cause deformities around joints that require joint replacement or other surgical intervention.

Arthritic pain isn't a condition any person should accept as a fact of aging. It is a serious health problem. Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and a more frequent cause for limited activity or mobility than heart disease, cancer or diabetes. It becomes a source of frustration, anxiety, helplessness and depression if left untreated.

Treating Arthritis

One effective way to combat arthritis is living a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise are valuable tools in fighting arthritis. Even one pound of weight loss can remove four pounds of pressure on joints in the knees and feet. Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce fatigue and stress.

Beyond simple dietary changes, using acupuncture to treat arthritis can make a huge difference. It can relax muscular tension around the joints and reduce the pressure placed on joints. Acupuncture works by inserting needles at various depths under the skin at points near key nerves on the body. These nerves are stimulated to release endorphins to block the pain messages sent to the brain and reset the central nervous system. Acupuncture is a proven 2,000 year old treatment for treating chronic pain in the back, neck and extremities.

Source:
"Acupuncture Gets Respect," Arthritis Today. 2013.

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