Arthritis is something that can severely affect your quality of life, characterised by chronic pain in the joints and with no cure it can affect you 24 hours of the day and prevent you from being able to do the things you enjoy. In the US it is the most common cause of disability (more than 20 million people suffer from it to the point of disability). In severe cases arthritis might also lead to the loss of feeling in the fingers or feet, nerve damage and severe deformity of the affected and surrounding joints. Over time he condition gets worse, meaning the prognosis is poor for most sufferers. Of course all this means that arthritis patients make the perfect targets for some of the bottom feeders on the internet promising miracle cures and trying to sell expensive e-books (I’m looking at you ‘I Cured My Arthritis You Can Too’) through a series of lies and false-promises. Many of these claim to work through a new type of diet, but as arthritis is the result of either physical trauma to the joint or an infection the majority of the time there is no way this would affect your pain. The minute a ‘cure’ claims that ‘doctors do not want you to know about it’ then you can be sure it will not work.
The truth is unfortunately that there is no ‘cure’ for arthritis as such, though there are some important things to realise about the condition and in some cases the pain can be prevented or stopped depending on the precise situation.
Perhaps surprisingly, there are actually over 100 forms of arthritis. The most common of these is osteoarthritis which occurs as a result of trauma to the joint, wear and tear through age, or infection of the joint (septic arthritis is also cased by infection). Other forms are rheumatoid, psoriatic, autoimmune disease and more. All of which are a result of the body’s immune system attacking itself.
Most often this will manifest itself in the hand or wrist, or in the legs, back or spine. The main symptom then other than pain in these areas is the inability to use the hand or to walk. It might also be accompanied by malaise, weight loss, poor sleep, muscle ache and general tenderness. The area is also likely to swell up and become inflamed, which then exacerbates the problem further as the bones rub against each other more. Over time continued use of the affected muscle will cause it to wear away and so deteriorate. This can also lead to other complications such as nerve damage, trapped nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle loss.
As such the normal treatments are nothing more than painkillers and often anti-inflammatory drugs to bring down the swelling. The drugs prescribed will be likely to get stronger as the condition becomes more painful. In the case of other specific forms of arthritis such as autoimmune disease then immunosuppresesants can be used to limit the damage caused by the immune system, while disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and antibiotics can be used to fight infection.
One treatment however that is used can be considered a cure is arthroplasty, which is surgery to completely replace the joint. In cases of osteoarthritis this painful procedure can completely eliminate the problem by replacing the damaged joint with a new smoother one that will not grind itself away or become swollen. This is the only ‘cure’ that could work in such cases but is highly invasive. An orthopaedic brace can also be used to help with posture, position, weight bearing and/or to limit movement.
Other than surgery and medication you will be recommended to partake in some form of physiotherapy and/or exercise. This will help to gently smooth the joint and to strengthen the muscle around it which can take some of the pressure off and improve movement. Often exercise will be performed under water, particularly in warm water, which is creates no impact and also soothes the joint enabling it to move more easily. Exercise in general is recommended as is weight loss where this could be a contributory factor.
Unfortunately these are the closest things you are likely to find to a ‘cure’ at the moment and there is no silver bullet for what is a serious and long lasting condition. The only alternative advice is to learn to live with the pain which many doctors will tell you. This sounds harsh and unsympathetic, but at the end of the day you do not have much other choice unless you want to focus on the suffering. Remember that pain is only there to indicate to you a problem – acknowledge this and realise that as there’s nothing you can do for the problem you would be better to just continue with your daily behaviour and commitments. The only cure that really works? Mental hardiness.
Last Updated on