The everyday challenges of arthritis.

There’s no getting around it: living with arthritis means dealing with chronic pain and stiffness, affecting quality of life in a number of ways. Everyday activities like driving, working, eating, and staying active can become a challenge. But while arthritis can be difficult to live with, there are some measures that can help arthritis sufferers manage their symptoms and make life with arthritis easier.

First, let’s talk about the two most common kinds of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The first, osteoarthritis, is a degenerative disease that affects millions of people worldwide and commonly targets areas of the body used for mobility: the hands, knees, hips, and spine[1]. It’s the most prevalent form of arthritis and tends to worsen over time, often resulting in chronic pain, joint pain and stiffness that can become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult. It’s most common among older adults.

Rheumatoid arthritis differs in that it’s actually an autoimmune disorder[2]. While it’s associated with joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis targets areas of the body as varied as eyes, lungs, heart, skin and more. When it does affect joints, it can make the synovium – the tissue and fluid around the joint that ensures smooth movement – red and inflamed, making movement difficult.

What causes arthritis?

It depends on what kind of arthritis we’re talking about.

When it comes to osteoarthritis, the cartilage cushioning your joints gradually breaks down[3]. In a healthy joint, cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that allows your joints to move smoothly and with minimum friction. While it’s commonly called the “wear and tear” disease, osteoarthritis is more than just the result of overuse – in a diseased joint, changes in the bone and the breakdown of the connective tissues causes the cartilage to wear quickly or unevenly, in serious cases to the point where bone rubs on bone.

The specific causes of rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, are still unknown[4], although some researchers pin the blame on genes that are activated by stress, a virus, or other factors[5]. The risk factors for both types of arthritis can be surprisingly similar, with several listed below:

  • Aging: risk typically increases with age
  • Sex: women are more likely to develop both forms of arthritis
  • Genetics: does it run in your family? The risk of arthritis may be inherited.
  • Obesity: the more you weigh relative to a healthy body mass, the greater the risk of arthritis. Increased weight can stress hips and knees, while fat tissue can cause harmful inflammation

Osteoarthritis may also be caused by injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports, can increase the risk or accelerate the development of osteoarthritis[6].

Managing arthritis symptoms.


Again, it depends on whether we’re looking to manage rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis – even though they’re both forms of arthritis, treatment can take very different forms. The good news is that in most cases, it’s possible to manage pain and symptoms.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can often be managed through self care: healthy eating, exercise and daily movement, hot and cold treatments, and topical creams[7]. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce inflammation and pain, as can prescription corticosteroids[8]. Natural health products such as the omega-3 NutraSea Arthritis can also help to reduce the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis in adults in conjunction with conventional therapy.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis can be managed on a scale ranging from healthy lifestyle choices[9] and self care at one end of the spectrum, to surgically replacing a damaged joint as a last resort. Strengthening exercises and weight loss can help relieve stress on joints, while physical and occupational therapy may be helpful to learn exercises to keep joints flexible. Analgesics, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Corticosteroids and other treatments may be prescribed by your health practitioner to help manage osteoarthritis symptoms. Another option you may want to consider is a natural health product such as Nature’s Way JMG joint health formula, which contains 2000mg of Glucosamine, 1200mg of Chondroitin[10], 500mg of MSM and 10mg of Hyaluronic Acid per serving.

All medications come with some risks and should only be taken under supervision of a doctor. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider on the best ways to manage your arthritis symptoms.

 

[1] Mayo Clinic. Osteoarthritis. 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925

[2] Mayo Clinic. Rheumatoid Arthritis. 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648

[3] CDC. Osteoarthritis (OA). 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm

[4] CDC. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm

[5] Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid Arthritis. 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/rheumatoid-arthritis

[6] Arthritis Foundation. Osteoarthritis. 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis

[7] Mayo Clinic. Arthritis pain: Treatments absorbed through your skin2021 [cited April 9th 2021; Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/in-depth/pain-medications/art-20045899

[8] Arthritis Foundation. Corticosteroids. 2021 [cited April 9th 2021]; Available from: https://www.arthritis.org/drug-guide/corticosteroids/corticosteroids

[9] Arthritis Foundation. Osteoarthritis. 2021 [cited April 1st 2021]; Available from: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis

[10] Bruyère O, Altman R, Reginster J-Y. Efficacy and safety of glucosamine sulfate in the management of osteoarthritis: Evidence from real-life setting trials and surveys. Seminars in Arthritis and RheumatismVolume 45, Issue 4, Supplement, February 2016, Pages S12-S17