I Have Arthritis, Now What?

Consult your family physician so he can prescribe treatment. Treatment goals:

  • Decrease arthritis symptoms and pain
  • Delay slow progression of the disease
  • Prevent or minimize further joint damage or deformities
  • Maintain joint function
  • Preserve mobility and range of motion

The Arthritis Foundation recommends seeing your doctor if your joint pain, stiffness or swelling lasts for two or more weeks.    

Unfortunately people in the early stages of arthritis tend to self-medicate using

  • over-the-counter topical creams and medications
  • ice packs
  • heating pads
  • heat wraps

Your doctor can help you determine the best course of action for addressing your individual needs.

Two Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common, affects about 27 million Americans. Though formerly considered a disease that's exclusive to seniors, doctors now realize that it can affect people at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.3 million Americans regardless of age group.

Simply defined:

Osteoarthritis is loss of cartilage around joints that results in bone rubbing painfully against bone, weakening surrounding bones.  Cartilage is the cushion between bones so, if your cartilage is worn down or torn as a result of injury, you don't have a cushion between bones to ease joint movement.

Rheumatoid arthritis reveals itself in stiffness, swelling, weakness, loss of mobility and eventual destruction of joints. It can flare up, disappear, then flare up again, giving you "good" days and "bad" days. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown, but once you have it, it's progressive.

Understanding Arthritis

Are you young, old, rich, poor, male or female? Then you may be a candidate for arthritis. Arthritis is particularly common among:

  • amateur athletes
  • heavy equipment laborers
  • outdoor workers
  • aging seniors
  • overweight persons of any age

If you’ve been injured or if there’s a history of arthritis in your family, it may claim you as a victim.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, it’s impossible to get an exact count of arthritis sufferers because many people, believing they just have a temporary ache or pain, self-medicate using over-the-counter remedies rather than consulting a physician and learning that they are in the first stages of arthritis.


Is it Arthritis?

How can I find out if I have Arthritis?

If you have arthritis, your joints will ache and you’ll tire easily.  Pain overtakes your mindset making it hard for you to concentrate on work – or  leisure activities.  You’ll find yourself

  • moving around with greater difficulty
  • tiring more easily
  • needing to rest in between activities
  • waking with night pain that causes you to sleep less

Over time, you are likely to experience:

  • weakened resistance
  • intensifying pain

It’s time to consult your physician about how to deal with your particular type of arthritis and how to manage your pain and movement.

If these preliminary symptoms cause you pain and discomfort for two or more weeks, see your doctor.