What type of arthritis do you have?
Many patients come to my office and say that they have arthritis. When I ask them what type of arthritis they have, they don’t know. There are more than 20 kinds of arthritic disorders. Last week’s article focused on rheumatoid arthritis. This week, let’s also briefly examine other types of arthritis that are similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) often suffer from swollen, stiff, warm, painful joints. Usually, the hands are the first joints affected. Then, other body joints follow. The joints may stiffen so much that a joint deformity can become permanent. Without aggravating the inflammation, it is crucial to keep the joints as flexible as possible is crucial. In this manner, gentle chiropractic care can help RA by addressing joint and muscle pain, stiffness, and deformity. Dietary advice can also make a difference by helping you to avoid foods that might aggravate RA or contribute to flare ups of RA.
Arthritis that is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis can involve the whole body, not just the joints. If you’ve noticed some joint pain or stiffness and other health problems, your doctor may consider different types of arthritis as your diagnosis. For example, if you suffer from severe digestive problems or psoriasis, you may be suffering from a variant of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Children less than 16 years of age could be suffering from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis if they have had joint pain for more than 6 weeks. Mild swelling of the hand, wrist, foot and ankle can turn into stiffness. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, JRA, may have serious consequences because changes in bone growth can alter the length and shape of your arms and legs. The hand, wrist, foot and ankle can become deformed. You might also notice that your child has a fever, swollen glands, anemia and a pale, red rash over the top part of his/her body. Furthermore, a certain of eye infection may be present.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition in which you have a red, silvery flakiness of the skin. Approximately 15% of individuals with psoriasis have a deforming joint disease which is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis. This disease termed Psoriatic Arthritis affects mainly the hand and foot joints. Sometimes the sacroiliac joints, the joints above your buttocks, and the spine are also involved. Unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis, blood tests will not necessarily be helpful in pinpointing Psoriatic Arthritis as your problem.
Digestive system, disorders, certain gastrointestinal problems, may also be associated with joint pain, stiffness and redness. Young adults usually young men, who have a loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach or abdominal pains and diarrhea may have Enteropathic Arthritis. Ulcerative Colitis and Regional Enteritis are often associated with this type of arthritis. You would notice digestive problems first. As these problems get worse, joint problems often begin. Knee, ankle, elbow and spinal stiffness can be severe.
In an Enteropathic Arthritis, it has been proposed that the intestine releases a toxic substance called an antigen. The body’s defense mechanism responds by sending out an army of antibodies. As these two clash, the antigen-antibody reaction produces inflammation. Removing irritating food from your diet is important to decrease the inflammatory response. The joint or arthritic problems worsen when the digestive problem is aggravated. Dietary changes along with other types of treatment may help to keep Enteropathic Arthritis in control.
A rather unusual connection between venereal disease and arthritis exists in persons with Reiter’s Syndrome, another type of arthritis that resembles RA. Young men between 18 and 40 years of age may complain of heel pain or foot pain. At one time, the person probably experienced a type of venereal disease, urethritis, and conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye.’ Often it is quite some time after the venereal disease that the person begins to suffer from joint stiffness or swelling in some of his other joints. This type of arthritis, without the other health problems mentioned can last for years. Medication that may help with the symptoms of venereal disease does not seem to be very helpful with the arthritis. The involved stiff joints have a tendency to evolve into bent joint deformities. Chiropractic manipulation and physical stretching of the joints can help in preventing these joint deformities.
The various types of arthritis above all look like Rheumatoid Arthritis because they include a problem within the immune system. Treatment should be an overall approach because arthritis affects the whole body. The organs, muscles, joints and tendons can become abnormal. Several of the types of arthritis listed above unfortunately can lead to heart and kidney failure. Different treatment approaches can help in controlling the symptoms of arthritis. The inflammation associated with arthritis can be over stimulated by a diet high in fats and animal products. Cutting down on milk and meat is also good for your waistline!
Be careful with corticosteroid or cortisone types of medications. Fragility of the bones occurs in arthritis that is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis because the bones develop osteoporosis. Corticosteroids greatly enhance the ability of your bones and vertebrae to break or fracture.
Keep stiff joints moving! Muscles are involved with joints and therefore with arthritis. Tight and stiff muscles and joints need to be stretched. Keeping joints flexible can help prevent deformity and progression of that tendency. Chiropractic manipulation combined with other types of treatment may be effective in helping to reduce pain from joint stiffness and muscle tightness. A gentle overall approach can avoid problems and yet give you the relief that you seek.