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What Does Arthritis Feel Like?

Do I Have Arthritis?

Do you feel stiff in the mornings, or sore when you get up from a comfortable chair, or when the weather turns cold or rainy? It could be age-related or the result of an old injury. However, if you regularly experience joint stiffness, it could be a sign of arthritis. 

Arthritis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the joints and other parts of the body. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis are the most prevalent. While no cure is available, arthritis treatment can help patients manage their pain without compromising their quality of life. 

 

Symptoms Of Arthritis

Arthritis has four primary warning signs. Because it’s progressive, you should discuss these symptoms with your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Pain: Discomfort caused by arthritis can be consistent or sporadic. You may feel pain in one or more areas of your body while sitting or moving. 
  • Swelling: Arthritis can cause redness and swelling. The inflamed body part may feel warm to the touch. If swelling happens more than three times a month or lasts more than three days, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
  • Stiffness: This is the most distinct sign of arthritis. Stiffness frequently occurs in the morning or after sitting for a prolonged time. Stiffness that lasts for more than an hour is a probable case of arthritis.
  • Difficulty moving: Standing up after laying down, sitting, or riding in a car can also cause discomfort or pain. 

In Canada, an estimated five million people (one in six) have osteoarthritis, but that is expected to increase to one in four by 2035. 

Osteoarthritis, by far the most common type of arthritis, affects the body’s cartilage. Over time, the tissues that cover the ends of bones at the joints and nerves break down, and the unprotected bones begin grinding against each other, causing pain and stiffness.

It can take months or years for osteoarthritis to erode the cartilage in your body. You may not realize you have it until it reaches an advanced stage. Initially, you may experience the four main signs of arthritis every once in a while. But as it progresses, they may become regular and disruptive, and you might experience other symptoms of osteoarthritis:

  • Joint crepitus: Grinding or creaking that occurs when you move the affected area.
  • Joint instability: Your knees or hips feel weak or that they may give out.
  • Joint dysfunction: Reduced functionality in the affected joint due to pain or limited mobility in your hands, hips, and knees. 
  • Sleep disruption: Exasperates symptoms and diminishes your ability to manage pain.
  • Mood changes: Chronic pain can lead to depression and anxiety, further exasperating your symptoms and affecting your general wellbeing. 
  • Fatigue: Excessive tiredness or exhaustion caused by chronic pain as a result of progressive osteoarthritis. 
  • Pain sensitization: A process caused by a dysfunctional central nervous system. For some patients, the symptoms of osteoarthritis are more pronounced. They may feel extreme discomfort from a light touch or nothing at all. The pain can extend beyond the affected area to a larger part of the body, such as throughout the back, and cause uncomfortable tingling. 

Overall, osteoarthritis can significantly diminish your quality of life. The sooner you start receiving arthritis treatment, the slower will be the disease’s progress and the more problems you will be able to minimize.

Arthritis Treatment Options

Much more is known about osteoarthritis, so there is more you can do to manage your symptoms. Doctors recognize that signs often go beyond the joint and treat patients accordingly. For this reason, you should record your symptoms several weeks before seeing your doctor. 

Note the affected joints, any stiffness or soreness you experience, the duration, and anything that alleviates symptoms. Include signs like fatigue or rashes, even if you think they’re unrelated. Depending on your symptoms and their severity, your doctor will prescribe several courses of treatment in combination which each other:

Lifestyle changes: Osteoarthritis is more likely to develop in people who are obese and maintain a poor diet. Not only is the risk lower for people who are of healthy weight, but a nutritious diet high in antioxidants can ease symptoms caused by inflammation.

At-home exercises: Routine physical activity improves flexibility and strength, but you should avoid high-impact exercises like running. Instead, try swimming, which is an effective arthritis knee treatment. Making these at-home exercises a part of your day can also keep your muscles and joints from becoming stiff:

  • Head tilts
  • Neck rotations
  • Finger and thumb bends
  • Leg raises and hamstring stretches, which are also suitable for arthritis knee treatment.

Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist can provide a personalized, holistic arthritis treatment plan. Physical therapy focuses on long-term symptom management by building the muscles around the joint. By and large, physical therapy is one of the most effective arthritis treatments.

Medication: Your doctor may prescribe one or more anti-inflammatory medications to supplement other types of arthritis treatment.  

Surgery: Hip and knee replacements are the most common surgeries for arthritis patients. Those with acute arthritis in their fingers and wrists may undergo joint fusion, where their bones are joined and left to heal as one.

Arthritis Treatment Calgary

For millions of Canadians, arthritis can threaten their ability to move freely, work productively, enjoy a good night’s sleep, and live free from unnecessary pain. It all begins with the right diagnosis and treatment. Visit Brentwood Physiotherapy for arthritis knee treatment, joint mobilizations, neck pain treatment, lower back pain treatment, rheumatoid arthritis treatment, psoriatic arthritis treatment, and more.

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