Common Types of Arthritis and Treatment Options

Do you or someone you know suffer from arthritis and seeking treatment options? Only a doctor can diagnose you with arthritis for sure, but realize that there are over 100 different types of arthritis. Despite the huge number types, the condition typically fall into two categories.

1. Osteoarthritis

This form of the disease is most commonly found in men and women over the age of 65.  Another common term for this type is degenerative arthritis. The name comes from the progression of the disease and generally beings with a breakdown of the cartilage

The cartilage covering the bones degenerates and wears down over time, basically it boils down to exposed bones. The exposed bones rub against each other that cause extreme pain and severe discomfort. Another common system people experience is difficultly with movement.

The most noticeable symptoms associated with osteoarthritis is pain in the joints. Sufferers may notice stiffness in the morning and after movement. 

Any of the joints can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the most common are the hips, feet, back, knees, and fingers.  Those with arthritis problems in the hands and feet may find it difficult to walk without a limp and otherwise grasp easy objects.

As with most types of arthritis, there is not just one cause for osteoarthritis but many factors that can contribute to the disease.

A factor common factors include body weight, previous injuries, and genes.  Although osteoarthritis usually affects elderly indivuals, athletes who repeatedly use the same joints and have suffered injury are also at a greater risk.

As far as body weight is concerned, the joints are surronded by fat and muscle tissue and carry most of the body’s weight; more weight means more pressure on the joints. In rare situations there can be defects like poor fitting of the bones and joints or lack of protein that make up cartilage that can lead to osteoarthritis.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Common Types of Arthritis and Treatment OptionsRheumatoid arthritis affects over one million people in the United States.  People from all ages and backgrounds are affected by this type of arthritis. As a matter of fact there are three types of rheumatoid arthritis for juveniles alone. What are the causes for this? 

Well the immune system is designed to protect our body against sickness, but in some cases it does the exact opposite.  With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune systems attacks the membrane lining that surrounds the joint.

Pain is one of The most common symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis and if left untreated other complications can arise, disability being the most common. 

To prevent further deterioration, patients are encouraged to workout their muscles and joints, even though it may be painful in the beginning.

Inflammation is another common symptom associate with rheumatoid arthritis. In most instances, this is what separates rheumatoid arthritis from other forms and the swelling can be anywhere from mild to severe.

One positive note on rheumatoid arthritis is that sufferers rarely experience constant pain but rather flare ups occasionally. Certain foods and over working the joints can be a major cause of the flare up. What causes rheumatoid arthritis in the first is still unknown but some suggest that genes are a factor.

3. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is not always classified as a form of arthritis but a related condition.  Over 3 million people in the United States are affected by this type of arthritis. That number could actually be higher due to some patients being diagnosed incorrectly.

Muscle pain is the most commonly associated symptom of fibromyalgia.  There are also tender spots in the muscle and body that are more prone to pain and pressure. Headaches, bladder problems, difficulty thinking, fatigue, and issues with sleep are also symptoms.

While researchers have yet to determine a connection, a good percentage of those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis later develop fibromyalgia. 

Some studies have shown that previous injuries are more likely to lead to fibromyalgia that many experts believe is due to changes in the muscles from injury. Now if it wasn’t bad enough that your joints hurt, but now the muscles in your body are also sore.

I hope this article helped you get more familiar with some of the most common types of arthritis. If you or someone who you know suffers from arthritis, medical care is important. Getting the proper diagnosis is important for developing the best treatment option. 

Low impact exercise can loosen the joints and strengthen the surrounding muscles. This will not only eliminate joint stiffness, but can later prevent disabilities and deformities.

Although some pain can be treated it should be expected that you will have recurrences of the symptoms.  Those suffering from arthritis need to be able to manage their pain which involves eliminating stress, asking for help, getting plenty of rest, and just overall relaxing.