There are many kinds of arthritis, the condition that affects the musculoskeletal system. Osteoarthritis is considered to originate from the degeneration of bones of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and refers to your immune system mistakenly attacking the tissues that line the joints. There are about 98 other conditions which differ in terms of symptoms, the only similarity being that they affect the joints. Treatment varies for each arthritic condition. Alternative therapies offered at multispecialty healthcare centers are proving effective to treat arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not only a painful condition as the other arthritic conditions, but also disfiguring. Immune system disorder, this isn’t a natural process like the degeneration and wearing down of joints with age as it is osteoarthritis. RA can significantly damage the bone and the cartilage within it, weakening the muscles, tendons and ligaments supporting the joints. The wrists and fingers are usually the joints affected.
Pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints are the symptoms as a result of which the joint is unable to function properly. RA is also known to bring about other health issues such as lung problems, heart problems, dry mouth, dry eyes, anemia, fever, fatigue and sense of being unwell. Psychological issues are also noted including low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.
Osteoarthritis is more common, affecting around 27 million Americans. It is basically the wearing away of joint cartilage causing bone to rub against bone. It is painful and disabling but a natural occurrence unlike rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of osteoarthritis develop gradually beginning with soreness and stiffness. These are normally felt after a long period of inactivity or excessive use and affect the knees, lower back, hip, thumb base, neck, big toe, ankle and joints of the small finger. The symptoms disappear after adequate rest following overuse, or movement following inactivity.
Pain is the next stage of the symptom, which gets worse at night or following activity. For many people the pain is mild enough to not affect their daily tasks. For others the stiffness and pain gets worse inhibiting their ability for movement and carrying out regular tasks.
While these are two of the major arthritic conditions, there are others too including psoriatic arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia. Alternative treatments for arthritis focus on reducing the symptoms and the pain and bringing them to a more manageable level.
- Natural substances such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are ingredients of healthy cartilage and can be used without many side effects. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory nature, the degeneration of the joint cartilage may be prevented.
- Hyaluronic acid is another natural substance that helps protect the joint. This is present in the knee fluid, but in arthritic patients it gets thinner. This acid is available as injections for treating knee pain. The fluid is injected into the portion of the knee where the cartilage has the most damage.
- Analgesics such as capsaicin creams can relieve pain for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis if the pain is mild.
- For arthritic joint pains as well as back and neck pain, electrotherapy treatment through devices such as TENS units has been known to help as well.
A multi-specialty healthcare rehabilitation center will offer the best options for all kinds of arthritic treatment including alternative methods. After a detailed examination, the center will formulate a customized treatment plan and also provide an honest opinion about the condition to suggest the best possible treatment available.