Arthritis is a chronic condition that is usually understood as joint pain or joint related diseases. The condition leads to inactivity among people thereby hindering their day to day life activities. People of all ages and genders can have arthritis, however it is more common among women. Arthritis can be mild, moderate or severe, while the common symptoms of arthritis includes joint pain along with swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. The symptoms might remain same for years, but may progress or get worse over time.
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Arthritis does not have a permanent cure but there are certain ways which can help in reducing the pain and making the life active and healthy. All these procedures act as a replacement for the surgery which gradually help in improving the condition and eventually getting rid of it rather than going through a painful procedure.
Medications in most of the cases help in relieving the symptoms and slows down the disease progression. One of the most impactful ways of treating arthritis is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that can help in managing the disease well. It's not that a healthy lifestyle will prevent the arthritis, but it will help you in getting better each day. Therefore, consuming a right diet along with physical therapy is recommended.
Physical therapy should be taken up as a treatment method that focuses on pain relief, healing, restoring function and movement of the joints, improves body mechanics and helps in maintaining overall fitness and wellness.
In addition to the exercises, there are some therapies that can be carried out by the therapists to help the patient recover from the joint pain. Heat therapy increases the blood flow and relaxes the tissues, cold or ice therapy helps in reducing swelling when applied to the desired area. Also, water therapy is helps in reducing pressure at the spine. Massage helps in increasing flexibility and circulation.
Spinal bracing is another method of controlling the pain by limiting motion and relieving pressure on the vertebrae. It helps in easy locomotion with less pain.
Traditional methods help in addressing the symptoms and reducing the risk of developing it. However, a surgery is recommended only when the disease cannot be managed by medications and therapies.
There are several traditional methods which can help in the treatment for arthritis including physical activities and therapies, medications and self-management.
Following are few of the recommendations that can help make your arthritis pain better.
Weight loss: Joints, especially the hips and knees, bear most of the body’s weight. An overweight body, on a compromised joint, can add to the damage. Losing weight, even small amounts, can play a major role in relieving symptoms and also slowing the progression of the disease.Keep a control on diabetes, hypothyroidism and the level of uric acid in the body which adds on to the condition of arthritis.
Exercise: Exercising can help cure the disease to a great extent by reducing joint pain, stiffness increasing muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. It will also help you in cutting the extra pound from your body. Your excess body weight can put pressure on your joints thereby making the condition of arthritis worse.
Physical therapy is helpful in relieving symptoms in some forms of arthritis. Exercising not only helps in losing extra pounds, but also increases flexibility of the joints. High-intensity exercises such as jogging can cause more harm to your joints. Instead, low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking and cycling are easy on the joints.
Alternate medicine: Many alternate therapies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga also relieves the pain by improving the range of motion and flexibility of your joints.
The type and severity of arthritis varies from one person to another, hence it advised to consult your doctor in order to get a customised treatment for you.
Dr JV Srinivas - Director, Orthopedics Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road