Arthritis is a general term but accurate term for this group of conditions is musculoskeletal conditions, as they affect the muscles, bones and joints.
Any person can get arthritis, including children and young people. It can affect people from all backgrounds, ages and lifestyles.
Types of arthritis
There are different types of arthritis that affect the muscles, bones and joints. They can be categorized as follows:
Symptoms of arthritis
Arthritis affects people in different ways. However, common symptoms are:
- Swelling in a joint
- Redness and warmth in a joint
- muscular aches and pain
- Siffness of a joint
Managing your arthritis
Living with arthritis and its symptoms can be different as it varies from person to person. Treatment and management options depend upon the type of arthritis, its severity and affected body part.
There is no cure for arthritis. Management options may include medical treatment and medication, physiotherapy, exercise and self-management techniques. Your arthritis healthcare team
A range of health professionals plays an important to manage your arthritis. These may include:
- General practitioner (GP) – your GP will help you manage day-to-day, as well as inform you access other health professionals and services
- Rheumatologist – a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating problems of the joints and bones
- Physiotherapist – will help you to improve your health and fitness through exercise programs tailored to your specific situation.
- Dietitian – will provide information and advice on food and nutrition.
- Occupational therapist – can help you learn better ways to do everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking, working, eating or driving
There are many things you can do to manage your arthritis, including:
- Stay active – physical activity is the key to maintaining muscle strength, joint flexibility and managing your pain. A physiotherapist can help design an tailor-made program for you. This can be arranged by your doctor as part of managing chronic illness.
- Learn ways to manage pain - there are many things you can do to manage pain and to make different strategies will work for different situations. For example, heat packs can help ease muscle pain, cold packs can help with inflammation, gentle exercise can help relieve muscle tension.
- Watch your diet – a healthy and well-balanced diet is the best for good health. Keeping to a healthy weight is also important as any extra weight puts added strain on your joints like hips, knee and ankles.
- Protect your joints – Looking for equipment and gadgets that can make tasks easier. An occupational therapist can give you advice on aids, equipment and home modifications.
- Join a peer support group – dealing with a chronic condition can be isolating. Being able to speak with others who understand your condition can be a great relief.