Arthritis literally means “inflammation of a joint”. There are more than 100 recognized forms of arthritis. However, most people affected by arthritis have one or two common types.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 55. Almost any joint can be affected. The most common are the wrists, fingers, feet and knees.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It usually starts to make its presence felt in the fifties age group with pain and stiffness in the joints. It does not usually cause severe disability but in some cases it can cause serious damage and early diagnosis and treatment is essential.
Other types of arthritis include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and scleroderma.
Arthritis can also be associated with conditions such as accidental or sports injuries to muscles, bones and joints, backache, sciatica, lumbago, and whiplash injury. Arthritis is a painful and unpredictable disease. It can be frustrating to live with and sometimes leads to depression.
While anyone can be affected by arthritis at any stage of life, there are four groups especially at risk: children, women, older people and sports people.
Symptoms to watch for:
* swelling in one or more joints
* early morning stiffness for more than a few minutes
* recurring pain or tenderness in a joint or reduced movement
* obvious redness or warmth in a joint
* unexplained weight loss, fever or weakness combined with joint pain
Chiropractic care can be very beneficial in helping joints work with better motion and position. Treatment methods may include gentle passive movement, heat, electrical treatments, hydrotherapy, splints and advice on preventing further joint damage.