Arthritis - Are you ignoring the pain?

Arthritis often starts with joint pain and stiffness so don’t ignore mystery pangs, particularly in your hands, hips or knees.

Arthritis is commonly thought of as an older person’s problem but it can affect people of all ages. Almost four million Australians are living with the condition and it’s predicted that figure will double by 2050.

The main contributing factor to the growing statistics is that people are living longer. The longer someone lives, the more likely it is they will develop a variety of health conditions – including arthritis.

Types of arthritis:

Osteoarthritis “Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in Australia, occurring most commonly in the knees, hips, fingers and toes and affects the bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles of the joint. Symptoms are pain, stiffness in the joints and reduced mobility.

Risk factors include being overweight, previous injuries to the joints and a family history of the condition. There is no cure for OA, but it can be managed by weight loss, exercise, and if necessary pain medication. Joint replacement surgery is an option in advanced cases.

Rheumatoid arthritis “Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the second most common type of arthritis in Australia and is an autoimmune disease that causes hand, feet, knee and hip joints to swell painfully.

Smoking and a family history of the condition are the greatest risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis, which can be very debilitating if not treated appropriately and quickly.

Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints in the neck, back, pelvis, hips and shoulders, which become inflamed, painful and stiff.

The pain is often worse after resting or sitting for prolonged periods, whereas it tends to be less severe with exercise. There is no known cause of AS, but research suggests a gene is present in most sufferers.

Gout Gout occurs when the body’s uric acid isn’t excreted and instead turns into crystals that deposit in and around joints. This results in inflammation, pain and swelling of the toes, feet, hands, wrists, knees and elbows.

Gout is episodic, which means it comes and goes, and tends to occur in people with a family history of it, or because of lifestyle factors such as obesity, overeating, not drinking enough water, crash dieting, excessive alcohol consumption and eating and drinking purine-rich foods such as processed meat.

The arthritis myth

Arthritis isn’t just a condition for the oldies!. About 62% of arthritis sufferers are aged between 15 and 64.

Early diagnosis is the key.

Physio treatment can help with identifying what the cause may be and also to help alleviate symptoms. Hands on treatment can be a great help in managing and keeping any arthritic symptoms at bay.


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