What Is Arthritis?

what is arthritis

What is arthritis? We all know that it is painful. Arthritis is very common in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. It is also more common in women than men and in people who are overweight.

Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. 

People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. 

Sixty percent of US adults with arthritis are of working age (18 to 64 years). It can limit the type of work they can do or stop them from working at all. 8 million working-age adults report that their ability to work is limited because of their arthritis. 

People with arthritis may have a hard time doing basic tasks like climbing stairs or even typing on a computer.

What Is Arthritis: Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your signs and symptoms may include:

  • Joint Pain

  • Stiffness

  • Swelling

  • Redness

  • Decreased range of motion

What Causes Arthritis?

Our joints have cartilage which is a tissue that is firm but flexible. It protects your joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in cartilage causes some forms of arthritis.

Sometimes, arthritis is caused by an autoimmune disorder. This occurs when your body's immune system attacks your tissues and damages the cartilage in your joints.

The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis.

  • injury (leading to osteoarthritis),

  • metabolic abnormalities (such as gout and pseudogout),

  • hereditary factors,

  • the direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral),

  • and a misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).

Types Of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Gout

  • Childhood Arthritis

Treatments for Arthritis

Arthritis treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving joint function. You may need to try several different treatments, or combinations of treatments, before you determine what works best for you.

Treatments for arthritis focus on relieving symptoms and relieving joint function for you, and ultimately to improve or maintain your quality of life.

Some treatments are:

  • medications

  • physical or occupational therapy

  • assistive aids

  • support and education for the patient

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • surgery, and sometimes joint replacement

Physical Therapy For Arthritis

exercising what is arthritis

Your physical therapist can help create an exercise and activity plan that will help keep your joints flexible.

Some exercises you can try are:

  • Stretching to help improve your flexibility, reduce stiffness and increase your range of motion

  • Tai chi and yoga

  • Pilates

  • Water exercises

  • Hand exercises

Products You Can Use

​Yoga mats

For water exercises

​​Stress balls for your hands


​Do you need help in managing arthritis using physical therapy? Contact us here for a complimentary consult.

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