Arthritis and how to manage it

There are several types of Arthritis but the two most common are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form and tends to develop most often in older people. According to the NHS, it “initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder. This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs called osteophytes.”. The most commonly affected joints are those in the hands, spine, knees and hips.

Rheumatoid Arthritis often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men.  In this type of Arthritis, the body’s immune system, first targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.

While Arthritis cannot be cured, there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms of Osteoarthritis. They include regular exercise, losing weight if you’re overweight, wearing suitable footwear and using special devices to reduce the strain on the joints during your everyday activities.

However, the exercise chosen should avoid putting extra strain on the joints, so moderate aerobic activity and some strength exercises are best. With Rheumatoid Arthritis, treatment includes medicines to help reduce inflammation in the joints, relieve pain, and prevent or slow down joint damage. However, treatment is to relieve symptoms as there is no cure.