While looking up some information, I came across the term osteoarthritis. It occurred to me then that I don’t understand how that is different than arthritis. Turns out, osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis and that there are several others. Guess I wasn’t thinking about it logically. So to save some time, I guess we’ll just talk about arthritis in general.

First of all, let’s talk about the basic understanding of a joint. It’s the point on your body where two bones connect and bend. There’s cartilage between them and a “joint capsule” around them to keep the bones in place and moving smoothly. Then you have the ligaments which join the bones together, the tendons which attach muscle to the bone, and then the muscle which serves to create the movement of the bones/joints. Across the many forms of arthritis, any and all of these can be affected by the condition.

While each condition has its own symptoms, the most common include: pain, swelling/redness around the joint, muscular aches, difficulty moving the joint, generally feeling tired and unwell.

Family history of arthritis, previous injuries, inflammation, uric acid build up, and common wear and tear can all be causes of arthritis. Because of these various causes, there is no cure for arthritis, but the pain can be managed enough to get back to a normal life.

Depending on your specific condition, there are a few treatments for your arthritis. Doctors can prescribe pain medications or creams/ointments but mainly the rest is just adjusting your lifestyle. The usual healthy diet and exercise is on the list but some conditions can be helped by adding or removing specific items from your diet. For example, my father has gout and I remember him eating bags of cherries when it would flare up and he quit drinking; hasn’t had a gout attack in a long time. Moral of the store? Do your research on your specific condition. Make sure to protect your joints: this can be modifying your workout to put less stress on the joint, using braces and aids, and doing joint specific stretches and exercises. You can ask your doctor recommendations on any of these as well as recommendations for specialists who may be able to help you further.

Info: Better Health Victoria: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/arthritis

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