What is arthritis?
Generally speaking, arthritis refers to an inflamed joint or group of joints. However, the term “arthritis” is actually a blanket term for a number of different conditions — over 100 different conditions, in fact. Arthritis is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, and more than 50 million adults suffer from some form of arthritis.
The most common symptoms of the condition include swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints, which can decrease range of motion. These symptoms may range from mild to severe, and can remain stable, subside, or worsen in cycles. Severe cases can result in chronic pain and can cause patients to have difficulty performing daily activities.
What causes arthritis?
There are over 100 varieties of arthritis, the two most common of which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoarthritis is caused by continued wear and tear on the joints, which can cause the cartilage that cushions the bones to deteriorate. The resulting discomfort is a function of bone rubbing against bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s synovium. Synovium is a soft joint tissue that helps to protect the cartilage and lubricate the joints; when the synovium wears down, both the bone and cartilage become damaged.
While the underlying causes of arthritis are unattributable and vary greatly from one type to another, genetics are known to play some role. Patients with a family history of arthritis are more likely to suffer from the condition themselves. Advanced age, obesity, and existing joint damage also exacerbate patient risk.
The most common causes of arthritis include:
- Wear and tear of the cartilage
- Autoimmune disorders
- Old age
- Existing joint damage
Meet with the best arthritis physical therapists
Luna’s physical therapists have expertise in the treatment of patients with all types of arthritis. Our licensed PTs will work with you to create a personalized course of treatment, utilizing techniques that target and alleviate joint pain to help you to return to your normal activities as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Best of all, with Luna, patients can get arthritis treatment in the comfort of their own homes (or even their office). It’s physical therapy, delivered.