There has been an increase in knee arthritis in places like the United States, among children and adults. It has become very common and many people suffer from acute or major joint pain.
Treating arthritis can be quite simple if you put time and effort into it, but it can also mean a slight lifestyle change. Some people do not want to have to be inconvenienced by joint pain when they have busy lives or tasks to complete.
In this article, I will explain a little about arthritis, the symptoms and causes, being diagnosed by a doctor, as well as the treatments for it.
The ways to treat knee arthritis are going to take up more space since they are incredibly important and the main focus of this article.
I do like explaining the condition, though, for any that may have just been diagnosed with arthritis but do not know what exactly that means.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is actually a way of explaining over a hundred diseases and conditions that are under the umbrella of joint diseases and pain.
Thousands of people are affected by joint diseases, though some have not been diagnosed and are unaware of how common these conditions can be.
There are different forms of arthritis, such as degenerative arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. I will explain these two because they are incredibly common, but I do want to note that there are many more types of arthritis.
Degenerative arthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints wears down and causes the bones to hit one another when moving.
Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the immune system is working improperly and, instead of causing inflammation to places that are infected, it causes the joints to become inflamed.
Causes for Arthritis in the Knee
Causes for arthritis that you cannot choose, such as biological factors:
- Having a family history of arthritis
- Old age, since the chances increase as you grow older
- Biological sex (woman have a higher chance of developing arthritis than men do)
- Having had a previous injury in the joint that could increase cartilage breakdown or make the joint weaker (people who play sports and are frequently injured have a higher chance of getting the disease)
Symptoms of Arthritis
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Pain in your joint
- Stiffness and the inability to freely move it
- Swelling and redness
If you do have any of these symptoms you should talk to your doctor before assuming you have the condition. If these symptoms persist over a long time then it is important to get yourself checked out.
Talk to your doctor about symptoms. If your doctor believes that you may have arthritis they will have you go and get imaging scans and, in some cases, blood tests, to see if they can spot the condition.
Helping Ease Arthritis Pain (R.I.C.E)
While I was researching how to help relieve and treat arthritis pain, I found a very fun way of remembering how to ease a flare-up; RICE. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
I have heard these steps before when explaining how to ease pain and swelling, so it makes sense that people would recommend it for joint pain.
Rest – Remember to take it easy and rest your knees when they are feeling extremely painful to ensure that you do not do extra damage. Resting can help reduce any swelling as well if that helps.
Ice – Icing your joints can help ease the pain as well. The change in temperature can help ease the pain and greatly reduce any swelling.
Compression – Can reduce the swelling, much like icing the joint, but it can also increase swelling if the compression is on too tightly.
Elevation – Another way to reduce swelling and pain. Elevate your leg by placing it on a pillow, or a few pillows, so that it is above your heart when you are lying down. This can help blood flow as well.
Other Ways of Dealing with and Treating Arthritis
Losing weight for overweight patients – While this may be a touchy subject, weight loss has been proven to help some cases of knee pain and arthritis because, especially in overweight patients, it eases the pressure put on the joints.
Losing a couple of pounds in a few weeks can help and may be suggested by your physician if they believe it will help.
Acupuncture – This one is not certain, as research has proven it can help but not by much and it has not been researched too much. I add this in case it can help people who are desperate, but I am wary about the effectiveness of it.
Knee braces and sleeves – Knee braces and sleeves are an easy way to help control your knee and ease the pain. It keeps it compressed while you move, so many doctors recommend getting one for if you have to do any exercising or a lot of knee movement.
Exercise – Some exercises can help improve movement in the knees and others can help ease the pain. Strength training, acrobatics, and exercises that can help with motion range are all ways to help ease the pain. Doing exercises in the water can help improve your movement but do not necessarily help ease the pain completely.
Balneotherapy – Balneotherapy is soaking in warm mineral water and is similar to the water exercises mentioned above. This actually helps more with pain reduction than joint movement and is a new therapy.
A variety of medications – Some treatments for arthritis pain include medications, such as over the counter pain medicines like Tylenol and Advil.
Your doctor could also prescribe stronger medicines if your pain is unbearable or in need of something more potent, such as; opioids (pain reduction and movement improvement), corticosteroid injections (short term pain reduction), and diacerein (slows down the breakdown of cartilage).
Surgery – This is not a pleasant way to end a list but it is a way to help with extreme joint pain and damage. If the other treatments are not working, then you may have to try something more extreme. Talk to your physician about the possibility of surgery and how it may benefit you.
Since arthritis is incredibly common and can drastically affect your lifestyle, based on the pain and how much care you take into easing it, it is important to know more about it.
It can be treatable if you decide to put your effort into exercising, wearing braces, and doing the other items on the list that I gave.
Your doctor may also recommend you try different options that I did not explore in this article so make sure that you talk to them or an arthritis specialist.