Arthritis is a major cause of disability and chronic pain. And because there isn’t much available in the way of a cure, it’s enveloped in misconception, myth and, sometimes, ineffective yet costly remedies.
The following facts will help set the record straight and debunk some of the existing misconceptions:
Myth #1: Joint pain is always an indication of arthritis
This simply isn’t true. Other conditions such as tendonitis, gout, bursitis, strains, sprains and other soft-tissue injuries may also cause joint pain.
Myth #2: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis
The cracking of knuckles is a common practice that seems to relieve joint stiffness. Some believe it’s a sign of arthritis or that it may cause the condition, but scientists haven’t found a link between the two.
Myth #3: There’s only one form of arthritis
This is the same as the assumption that there’s only one type of cancer. The truth is that there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet.
Myth #4: Arthritis is synonymous with the usual aches and pains people develop as they grow older
Although this chronic condition is more common in older people, it can start at any age, including childhood. Similarly, not all elderly people will develop arthritis.
Myth #5: Having arthritis is a hopeless situation
While treatments are limited, there’s a lot you can do to manage the pain and discomfort of arthritis. For starters, you can lose any excess weight to help lessen the pressure on your joints. A healthy diet, moderate exercise, experimenting with heat/cold compresses, protecting your joints are all important steps.
REMEMBER: Arthritis doesn’t have to signify the end of an active, productive life. Collaborate with your healthcare team to find out what works best for you.
(Hayden Horner, Health24, January 2014)