Quick Facts about Arthritis
- Arthritis means inflammation of the joint (“arthro” means joint and “itis” means inflammation).
- Any joint in the body can be affected, the knee, hip and spine are most common.
- Joints become swollen, red, hot and painful. Often you can’t use the joint properly.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common and affects over 3 million Canadians.
- Among all causes of disability in Canada, arthritis ranks first for women and third for men.
- More common in older people from wear and tear on your joints and the aging process.
- Having a physically demanding job or injuring a joint earlier in life can speed up osteoarthritis.
- Starts off milder and gets worse over time as the cartilage in the joint wears down.
- A type of inflammatory arthritis (others include ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis).
- Usually begins around the age of 40 – 60 but can affect people of all ages, including children.
- Is an autoimmune disease which means your body attacks and destroys your joints.
- In addition to the regular medications for pain or swelling, DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) are often used to slow the progression of the disease. Talk to your pharmacist for more information.
Common treatments for arthritis
- Hot or cold therapy: heat is best to loosen up stiff muscles or joints, cold is best when joints are swollen.
- Physiotherapy or occupational therapy can give you exercises or strategies to manage with arthritis pain.
- Medicines (non-prescription):
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Anti-inflammatories: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve)
- Gels or creams:
- Diclofenac (Voltaren) gel is an anti-inflammatory gel that you can apply to swollen joints.
- Capsaicin cream may also be tried.
- Natural health products such as glucosamine and chondroitin or fish oils may be beneficial for some people.
- Different types of surgery may be considered in people with severe arthritis.
You can help manage your arthritis with these healthy habits.
- Keep moving! Regular physical activity can decrease arthritis pain. You may want to consult with a trainer or physiotherapist.
- Rest when you need to as arthritis can cause fatigue.
- Look into what helpful tools and devices are available to make everyday activities safer and easier.
- Manage your weight: finding your healthy weight can help your arthritis symptoms.
- Don’t forget about your mental health. Living with a chronic disease is tough and can lead to depression. Keeping your mind healthy is important.
This information should not be considered as medical advice. It is not to be used in place of a visit with a doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. If you have questions about your individual medical situation please consult with a Surlang Pharmacy Pharmacists or other healthcare professional.