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The Painful Truth About Arthritis

September is Arthritis Awareness Month.

  • 4.6 million Canadian adults (aged 15 and older) report suffering from arthritis
  • By the year 2036 that 4.6 million is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million
  • 2/3 Canadians affected by arthritis are female
  • 2/3 of people with arthritis are under the age of 65 – including an estimated 300,000 children

Everyone’s heard about arthritis, but what’s not as common is what causes it, who can get it, and what are the best ways to manage and treat it. There are many over the counter medications that are beneficial in treating arthritis, but when those meds are coupled with physical therapy it can be just as effective as surgery. Bracing and injections are also great methods of fast relief from arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They can attack any joint, but typically the hands, knees, spine, and hips, are most common which can make daily activities very difficult and painful.

Causes of Arthritis:

Normal wear and tear causes osteoarthritis, but your risk of developing it may be higher if the disease is a common thread in your family history. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It develops when your body’s immune system attacks the tissue in your body.  This prevents the synovium from producing the fluid which lubricates and nourishes your cartilage and joints.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history (genetics)
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Gender
  • Previous Joint Injury/Infection
  • Obesity

Managing your pain:

Medications help, but a physiotherapist can tell you about other methods of pain relief that work alongside with your medications.

  • Changing your activity level/sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Pain Relievers
  • Physical Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Bracing/Custom Bracing
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Viscosupplementation injections

Injections:

In the early stages; arthritis of the knee is treated with nonsurgical methods. Your doctor may recommend treatments including; changing your activity level, weight loss, pain relievers, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. If pain and mobility is still unmanageable, an effective treatment option such as a viscosupplementation injection may be recommended.  Injections such as MultiVisk™, Cingal™, Durolane®, Synvisk-One®, Monovisc®, and Orthovisc® are designed to relieve pain in your joints like the knees, ankles, fingers, and toes. Some injections, including MultiVisk®, contain an anesthetic to lessen the pain. Cingal™ is a single-injection treatment that relieves pain, and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. In these procedures a gel like fluid is injected in the knee joint. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint load. Your physiotherapist or doctor can recommend this highly effective treatment and which type of injection is best suited for you.

Bracing:

Braces can help to treat and ease the pain of an arthritic knee. Specialized braces apply pressure on your knee joint, creating a space between the two bones providing relief and preventing harsh rubbing. The GenuTrain® knee brace is often recommended for mild to moderate cases of arthritis. And the Össur® custom brace is often recommended for more severe cases.Your physiotherapist can recommend a brace that best meets your needs.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis#overview1

https://www.ossur.ca/

http://kneepainrelief.ca/treatment/#corticosteroid-injections

http://www.multivisklife.com/health-professionals/

http://www.arthritis.org/get-involved/jingle-bell-run/