Do you wake up feeling like some of your joints are stiff as a board? Has completing regular daily activities become more than just a chore? Does climbing stairs leave you not only tired but in discomfort and pain? Arthritis is one of the most common debilitating disorders seen in the United States with more than 100 different forms. If you are experiencing pain, stiffness or swelling from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis perhaps receiving acupuncture for arthritis can help you also!
What is Arthritis?
With over 100 forms there are several common elements found in the condition of arthritis. Being musculoskeletal disorder there will be some degree of inflammation, pain and limited movement of the affected joint. The word arthritis itself means inflammation of a joint. A joint is the part of the body where two different bones meet and act’s as an “shock absorber” allowing for easy movements. The reasons for inflammation will vary according to what types of damage to the joint are occurring.
As seen with osteoarthritis there is usually a slow deterioration of the cartilage around the bone. The cartilage of a joint allows for smooth movement of the bones as they glide over one another during any type of motion. When this protective layer wears away there occurs crepidation or crepitus, the creaking or crackling of a joint as it moves. Inflammation of the joint can occur as the body attempts to protect the bones from grinding against one another.
In both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis there is damage to the joint. There are some differences, however, as far as the onset and development of symptoms. Early osteoarthritic symptoms may include a dull maybe burning pain that starts to occur after use of the joint. In the beginning this will be after extreme or extended use of the joint. As symptoms reoccur less use of the joint is required in order to produce pain. Wear and tear play a factor as the cartilage slowly erodes. Weight bearing joints(hip, knee, back) can be particularly affected by osteoarthritis.
In rheumatoid arthritis the body attacks itself. This is called an auto-immune disease. Inflammation begins in the synovium or joint lining. Whereas in osteoarthritis there is a very gradual process with ever worsening symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis the duration and intensity of symptoms will fluctuate between individuals. Periods of worsening symptoms are known as flareswhile times of relatively few problems are called remissions. Symptoms will occur on both sides of the body as the disorder is systemic as opposed to one side as seen with osteoarthritis. There will be more redness, swelling and sensations of heat. There may be moderate to severe loss of mobility and function often accompanied in the early stages with the feeling of stiffness in the joints upon awakening in the morning.