Getting Active with Arthritis
Arthritis affects approximately one in five adults in the United States. If you have arthritis, joint pain can substantially interfere with your quality of life and the ability to do the everyday activities you’re used to doing with ease. But fear not, while no “cure” exists, there are several options available to reduce arthritis pain. You should go to http://www.akcannabisclub.com/best-cbd-oil-for-pain/ to learn how CBD might be able to assist you in reducing the debilitating impact of your condition.
So what are the most common types of arthritis and where can you start to begin improving your symptoms? In truth, “arthritis,” from Greek arthro-, joint + –itis, inflammation, is more of a description of a primary symptom (inflamed joints) that is characteristic of a range of diverse diseases.
Common Types of Arthritis
There are two major types of arthritis—osteoarthritis, which is the “wear and tear” arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis that happens when the body’s immune system does not work properly.
Osteoarthritis results from overuse of joints, but most commonly is an aging phenomenon. About 27 million American’s have this form of arthritis. It is a chronic condition in which the material that cushions the joints—cartilage—breaks down. This causes the bones to rub against each other, resulting in stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement. While the cause of osteoarthritis is not fully understood, it can be the consequence of demanding sports where joints may be injured or obesity, which places increased load on weight bearing joints. Symptoms may include:
- Sore or stiff joints – particularly the hips, knees, and lower back – after inactivity or overuse.
- Stiffness after resting that goes away after movement.
- Pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, affecting about 1.5 million Americans. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks parts of the body. Over time, chronic inflammation can lead to severe joint damage and deformities, and about one in five people with rheumatoid arthritis develop lumps on their skin called rheumatoid nodules. Symptoms may include:
- Pain and stiffness
- Swelling in your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaw, and neck.
- Sometimes the pain occurs in one body part, but more commonly, rheumatoid arthritis pain occurs in combinations of several joints such as in the hands, knees, and feet.
Other type of arthritis, though not as common, include gout, which is caused by crystals that collect in the joints, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and septic arthritis.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, but there are medications to help relieve pain when needed. The doctor may recommend physical therapy or occupational therapy to help improve strength and function. HerbMighty might be able to recommend the best CBD cream for pain for you. When pain is severe and frequent, or mobility and daily activities become difficult, surgery may be considered. Fortunately, there are other ways to reduce your arthritis symptoms. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider some natural arthritis remedy if you wanted to try something out.
You’re joints are meant to move! When they don’t move, they aren’t properly lubricated. Understand the range of motion available to you and don’t push past that limit, or you can end up increasing joint pain. And skip the weight-bearing exercises — water-based activities are ideal, and activities like yoga and walking can be very beneficial as well.
Pool exercise gives arthritic joints support and warmth, offering a low-impact workout that provides benefits like pain reduction, muscle relaxation, improved range of motion, strength and aerobic capacity.
Try yoga. This holistic approach to fitness has been around since ancient times. Yoga has been shown to help people with chronic pain because it is based on moving through a routine of set poses, or stretches, which increase flexibility yet protect joints from injury. It is a non-weight bearing, leisurely paced and focused exercise that can be adapted to an individual’s personal physical limits, and as a result can broaden those limits as time goes on.
One of the easiest ways to get moving is simply by walking. The best thing about walking is it can be done anytime, anywhere and it does not require anyone other than you. It’s safe, low impact, strengthens muscles, and helps keep weight in check. Aim for a pace that leaves you slightly short of breath, but not so much that you can’t carry on a conversation normally. Besides building muscle in the lower body, walking also works out your heart and lungs.
Whatever your physical fitness preference, the most important thing to remember is to keep your body in motion. A sedentary physique is more prone not only to inflamed joints but atrophied muscles as well, which can also impact movement. In short, move it or lose it!
Slow down when making regular, subconscious actions.
- Instead reaching for the pasta sauce on the very top shelf, get a step stool so you’re not overreaching and stressing your joints and muscles.
- When getting out of bed, don’t just sit right up and hop right out. First, roll onto one side and let your feet dangle over the edge of the bed and slowly push up with your torso – allowing the weight of your legs to naturally help the upper body come to a sitting position. Then you can place both feet on the floor, stand up and get on with your day as usual.
- When you have joint pain from arthritis, there may be days when putting on your favorite outfit is too much effort. Make sure you have comfortable clothes that slip on instead of requiring that you pull them over your head. You can even put larger pulls on zippers to make them easier to grasp.
Take Up a Hobby!
Individuals with arthritis are often stuck between a rock and a hard place and may shy away from activities they once enjoyed because the pain is simply too overwhelming. The Arthritis Foundation has suggested that hobbies have a positive effect on people with arthritis by diverting their attention away from pain and other problems associated with the disease. So don’t just sit on the couch and watch TV; indulge in old hobbies and interests with a little new-found guidance. Here are some hobbies to consider with an arthritic-based approach:
Gardening – Joint pain doesn’t have to keep you out of your garden. You may simply have to Invest in more appropriate tools. Chances are that you probably are unable to pinch, squeeze and grip as well as you used to, so invest in larger but lighter hand tools – like an aluminum-handled rake versus a wooden one.
Crafting – Ceramics are one craft where the activity can also be the exercise. Using a pottery wheel or hand-molding dough’s and other modeling media can be a way to stretch and work the hands and fingers. Painting is another option, simply use paintbrushes with wider grips to make holding the brushes easier.
Having arthritis doesn’t mean a person has to give up on the activities he or she enjoys, it merely involves a few tweaks that can still make these hobbies enjoyable.
On The Horizon
The Holy Grail of arthritis treatment is the regeneration of joint cartilage. Cartilage cells are the only ones in the human body that don’t regenerate (because they lack the blood vessels needed to replenish cellular growth). Once destroyed, by trauma or age, it’s gone. Cartilage from cadavers at the moment is the only current source of replacement cartilage, and the supply cannot meet the demand.
Medical researchers are getting tantalizingly close to creating new stem-cell-generated cartilage. In March 2012, the FDA approved a new treatment called Carticel from Genzyme Biology. The product uses the patient’s own articular cartilage to treat small areas of damaged knee cartilage. The technique is more for traumatic injuries, but a second generation Carticel uses a “fleece matrix” implanted with cartilage cells that is arthroscopically inserted into the joint. Carticel II is currently available in Europe and waiting for final FDA approval before becoming available in the U.S.
Another stem-cell therapy injects the stem cells from human donors or the patient’s own body to the damaged area. Studies, including those by Dr. Thomas Vangsness, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, have shown promising results in both reducing knee pain and regenerating new knee cartilage in the test subjects.
Also on the near horizon:
- Gene Therapy – Scientists have identified three genes that seem to be associated with a susceptibility to osteoarthritis (not everyone who ages gets arthritis). Unlock their genetic code, and the key to preventing arthritis in the first place might be in hand.
- Nano-Technology – Micro, human-engineered nanoparticles would deliver time-released lubricating gels to the damaged joints, relieving pain and restoring mobility.
- Biologic Drugs – These drugs are a new generation of pharmaceuticals composed of proteins created in the lab. Merck, the pharmaceutical corporate giant, is testing a new biologic that stimulates the formation of new cartilage.
- Customizable Body Parts – Medical labs around the world are experimenting with 3-D printers that can actually create living tissue. Imagine an endless supply of new human cartilage tissue.
“All of these therapies portend a time in the near future when arthritis will be conquered with treatments personalized to patient’s individual genetic profile or given en masse as a vaccination,” said Dr. Vangsness in his recently published book “The New Science of Overcoming Arthritis”(Da Capo Press).
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