World Arthritis Day, established by Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI) in 1996, is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal illnesses (RMDs) worldwide. These conditions, numbering approximately 200, profoundly affect individuals’ well-being. The day’s mission is clear: to inform people across the globe about the presence and consequences of these debilitating disorders.
Arthritis, characterized by joint inflammation, can manifest in acute and chronic forms, causing significant discomfort and hindering daily activities. In recent times, the incidence of arthritis has surged globally, partly due to sedentary lifestyles exacerbated by the pandemic.
World Arthritis Day 2023 Sheds Light on the Global Fight Against Joint Pain
Dr. Venuthrula Ram Mohan Reddy, a leading Orthopaedic Surgeon at Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, delves into the details of arthritis in this article. He sheds light on the early signs and symptoms that individuals may observe as the condition initially takes hold.
Understanding Arthritis: Unveiling the Causes of Swelling and Inflammation Arthritis often begins in one or two joints due to aging, but genetic and inflammatory factors can result in its widespread impact on multiple joints. In advanced stages, surgical interventions like joint replacements may be necessary.
Key Symptoms Include:
- Joint Pain: Typically localized near affected joints, worsened by weight-bearing activities, walking on uneven surfaces, and climbing stairs. As arthritis progresses, it can curtail walking distances and disrupt sleep due to pain.
- Muscle Cramps (Spasm): Muscle spasms above and below-affected joints can occur, especially at rest.
- Joint Stiffness: Inflammation of the synovial membrane lining the joint leads to joint stiffness.
- Unusual Joint Swelling: Swelling in the joints is common in early-stage arthritis, primarily due to fluid collection linked to inflammation. In advanced stages, swelling may result from deformities or new bone formations.
- Changes in Joint Structure: Deformities, such as knock knees or bowing of the legs in the knees, may become apparent in advanced arthritis.
It is crucial to identify and address these early symptoms promptly. Genetic and inflammatory arthritis diseases can affect individuals of all ages, necessitating timely intervention with appropriate medications to control disease progression and preserve joint function.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):
RA, influenced by genetic mutations, is an inflammatory arthritis that can affect multiple joints. It typically begins in the small hand joints but can progress to major joints and impact other organs such as the lungs, kidneys, and eyes.
Psoriasis, another inflammatory arthritis akin to RA, presents with skin lesions, nail issues, and excessive dandruff. Early identification is essential to prevent damage to articular cartilage.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS):
AS, a genetic disease linked to the HLA B27 factor, shares symptoms and signs with other forms of arthritis, with a focus on spine pain and stiffness.
Neglecting the early signs of arthritis can lead to compromised daily activities and potentially necessitate major surgeries. Awareness and early intervention are critical.
Unlocking Relief with Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy plays a pivotal role in managing arthritis. While traditionally recommended post-diagnosis, it is increasingly employed for prevention. Customized exercises, dietary adjustments, injury prevention strategies, early treatment of symptoms like joint swelling, and ergonomics prescriptions contribute to its effectiveness.
The research underscores the benefits of physiotherapy for conditions including disc ailments, rotator cuff tears, knee osteoarthritis, and muscle tears. Physiotherapy primarily aims to restore joint functionality and improve mobility, offering relief from joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It helps individuals regain confidence, manage pain, and stay active.
Moreover, physiotherapy enhances strength and flexibility, reducing the risk of accidents by promoting mobility and movement.
Arthritis and its related disorders have a global impact, affecting countless lives. Comprehensive treatment approaches, including physiotherapy, are pivotal in alleviating the burden of these conditions and improving individuals’ overall quality of life.
This World Arthritis Day, let’s stand united in the fight against joint pain and embrace proactive measures to combat these debilitating diseases.