General arthritis is a term used to refer to inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness of a joint. Although there are many types of arthritis, the most common classifications fall under inflammatory arthritis or degenerative arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis is a group of diseases caused by inflammation of the joints and other tissues while degenerative arthritis is caused by the gradual breakdown and terminal loss of the joint cartilages.
However, the accurate term for general arthritis is musculoskeletal health condition as it affects the joints, bones, and muscles. Arthritis can affect anyone regardless of your age, background or lifestyle. In this article, we will be discussing an in-depth view of general arthritis including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
What Does General Arthritis Entail?
Our bodies are made up of several bones that are separated by joints to allow for movement. The end of each bone is made up of a thin layer of smooth tissue known as cartilage. It provides lubrication by acting as a cushion that ensures smooth movement of the joint. A joint capsule keeps the bones in place and contains a thick fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint. The tendons, muscles, and ligaments work together to allow movement such as bending, stretching, twisting or turning.
Arthritis affects the normal functioning of the joints, muscles, bones, and other surrounding structures causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation. The severity of your condition may vary depending on the type of musculoskeletal condition. You are more likely to encounter challenges with normal body function and quality of life since general arthritis may appear in multiple areas of the body.
Causes and Symptoms
The causes of most types of arthritis are still unknown to the health community. However, the three major factors that cause certain types of arthritis may revolve around the person’s genetics, current lifestyle, and the thing happened during their lifetime. Degenerative arthritis is caused by wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the end of the bones. Excess friction on the joints means that bones are grinding directly on each other resulting in pain and restricted movement.
Rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the joint capsule lining. The synovial membrane becomes swollen and inflamed as it continues to destroy the cartilage. The symptoms may vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Some of the common symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
Diagnosis of General Arthritis
A doctor will conduct a physical exam where they will check for swelling, tenderness, and redness on your joints. They also need to see how well you can stretch your legs or move your joints. A doctor may suggest certain laboratory tests depending on the type of arthritis you have. Joint fluid, urine, and blood are some of the commonly analyzed fluids. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, and MRIs can be used to detect issues that may be causing the symptoms within your joint.
Treatment for arthritis is meant to minimize joint damage, maintain function, control pain, and improve quality of life. Some of the treatment options for general arthritis include medications, physical therapies, joint assistive aids, weight loss, and surgery. A combination of medication and lifestyle changes help control pain and protect your joints from further damage.
Since arthritis treatment focuses on improving joint function and relieving symptoms, you may be required to take a combination of treatments to determine one that works best for you. Physical therapy can also be helpful for certain types of arthritis as they help to strengthen muscles around the joints and improve range of motion.
Home Remedies for General Arthritis
The symptoms of arthritis can be reduced through a weight loss program, regular exercises, assistive devices and using ice packs or heating pads on the affected area. Shedding off extra pounds reduces the amount of pressure exerted on your weight-bearing joints. Exercises increase your range of motion and limit future joint injury. Ice packs or heating pads help to relieve arthritis pain while assistive devices improve your ability to carry out daily tasks.
When to See a Doctor
It is advisable to see a doctor if you experience joint symptoms that cause concern. Some of the potential signs that require immediate medical care include chronic pain and stiffness in the joints, tenderness, or difficulty moving a joint.
The symptoms of arthritis may vary from one person to another. Treatment options may depend on the type of arthritis, the affected part of the body, and the severity of your symptoms. Since there is no cure for arthritis, treatment options often focus on improving joint function and relieve symptoms. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any joint problems that raise concerns about arthritis.