What is Arthritis?
Arthritis – such a common diagnosis for so many people and so many joints. But what is it?
Arth – joint
Itis – inflammation
This can happen to any joint in the body –any point where 2 bones meet, and this includes each disc of the spine as well!
Sometimes we are given more complicated names for specific joints or conditions:
Osteoarthritis – when the cartilage within the joint has started to break down and the bones are affected.
Spondylitis – arthritic changes in the spine (at the spondylitic joints)
You might also be told that a joint has “degenerative changes” or that you are “getting old” (sadly, I’m not joking!).
What happens in an arthritic joint?
The cartilage that acts as a cushion between the 2 bones starts to break down. Now cartilage has no nerve endings so it can take a LOT of damage before we feel any pain. Usually the pain starts when the cartilage has broken down enough that the bones are rubbing against each other.
Once the bones start rubbing they also start to change and this is where the “osteo” part begins.
What can I do?
There are a number of options depending on the exact situation:
Relieve the pressure on the joint – every step we take and action we perform puts pressure on our bones, joints and muscles. If these aren’t working correctly to begin with then we put additional stress on them and wear them away quicker. One of the most common examples is when you have a flat foot causing a twist through the ankle and knee, by properly supporting the foot we can easily reduce the pressure and pain in the knee.
Physiotherapy – by strengthening the muscles around the joint we can again reduce the pressure and use electro-therapies to bring down the painful inflammation.
MRT – a german technology derived from Magnetic Resonance Imaging this helps to reduce bone swelling (the painful part) and strengthen and rejuvenate the cartilage which acts as the cushion between joints.