MYTH #1: Arthritis is just minor aches and pains associated with getting older.
Reality: Arthritis is actually a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that can affect people of all ages, races and genders. Three common types of arthritis are:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – This is the most common form of arthritis. It progressively degenerates the joints over time by breaking down the joint cartilage. This can be made worse if you are overweight, older or have a history of join injury.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – This form of arthritis occurs when your immune system tries to attack the thin membranes lining the joints. This causes pain, stiffness, warmth, swelling and sometimes severe joint damage throughout the body.
- Juvenile Arthritis (JA) – This is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.
MYTH #2: People with arthritis should avoid exercising.
Reality: Exercise is a valuable tool in the fight against arthritis. For every pound lost, less pressure is placed on the joints, especially the knee and ankle joints. Exercise can include both endurance and resistance training for both OA and RA patients. Find an activity that you enjoy and find a friend who will enjoy it with you. This will make you more likely to stick with it. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the best exercise program for your situation.
MYTH #3: Not much can be done for arthritis.
Reality: There are quite a few remedies, supplements and drug therapies to help arthritis patients. It’s a matter of finding the right combination for you. A physical therapist may be able to recommend the non-pharmaceutical treatment options for you including:
- Hot and cold therapy
- Exercises to increase flexibility and strength
A pain management specialist can help by finding the best drug therapies combined with supplements to relieve the pain and inflammation.
What to do?
You don’t have to resign yourself to just live with pain as you get older. At SROSM we recommend staying fit and consulting with a doctor about the best course of action as the aches and pains in your joints set in. A pain management specialist, such as our very own Dr. Gohel, may be best suited to help you relieve arthritis pain. She is familiar with the various types and how to best treat your pain. We also have a full physical therapy team located at our Sterling Ridge location in The Woodlands if the doctor feels that physical therapy would benefit you.