Busting the Myths About Arthritis


When people hear arthritis, they attribute it to pain and stiffness in the elderly population. However, arthritis is an umbrella term for any type of joint pain or joint diseases. Studies have been able to identify over 100 types of arthritis. Types range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage (such as osteoarthritis) to those associated with inflammation resulting from immune system dysfunction (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Because there are several types of arthritis the symptoms and treatment vary according to the disease. It is the second leading cause of disability, despite its prevalence people still have misconception or assumptions about the disease. Here are some common myth and facts about arthritis;

Myth 1: Only the Elderly Is Affected

Although the risk of having arthritis increases with age and it is common among adults aged 65 years and above. The fact is arthritis can affect people of all ages including children. It is estimated that 1 in 4 children are affected by it and a total of 300,000 children annually in US are affected by one form arthritis or the other. This occurs due to the wide range of types such as juvenile arthritis that is seen before a child reaches the age of 16 years or osteoarthritis that is common in the elderly population.

Myth 2: Arthritis is Part of Aging Process

As aging process occurs the joint cartilages deteriorates and further thins, which make age a contributing. However, there are other of types of inflammatory arthritis that are autoimmune such as rheumatoid arthritis that is found in all age groups and does not occur as a result of the aging. By dismissing arthritis as part of aging process, it prevents people from getting the necessary help early until the condition worsen.

Myth 3: It Cannot be Prevented

Truly, studies have shown that arthritis cannot be completely prevented but one can reduce the risk factors or delay the onset of the disease. Although some risk factors cannot be change such as gender, however, avoid smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, avoid overuse injury or straining the muscles has proven to decrease the progression of the disease or prevent its occurrence.

Myths 4: Exercising Aggravates the Pain

Often an inflamed joint requires rest before gradual return to activities or exercises. Regular and moderate intensity exercises help the arthritic joint. This required to maintain and improves strength, range of motion (prevent joint stiffness) and maximise function.

Myth 5:  Heat Treatment is Better than Cold for Arthritis

Both cold and heat can be used as a treatment option as they have different function. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and swelling in a joint while heat therapy relaxes the muscles and tendons. The most effective treatment is the one tailored to the individuals need.

Myth 6: Cold Weather Makes Arthritis Worse

There are stories and reports by patients and people saying the pain gets worse during the wet season or when it’s about to rain. Despite a lot of this stories there is no scientific evidence that dampness or humidity has any effect on arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis is known to impact function, activities of daily living and quality of life, but with a patient-centred care and life-style modification (diets, exercising, weight loss) symptoms can be alleviated. In addition, working with experts like a physical therapist in planning an exercise program and daily routine that is tailored to your need has proven to be important for a successful outcome in management of arthritis.

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