Contributed by – Krushna Charan
The term ‘arthritis’ is derived from arthro, the Greek word for a joint. It is the Latin word for inflammation. There are more than 100 different disorders of joints and joint inflammation is common to all. If the joint inflammation is left untreated, it can lead to changes within the joints and in the tissues that surround them. This can cause joint inflammation symptoms such as pain, stiffness, deformity, and difficulty in performing normal activities of everyday life.
Arthritis has long been associated with old age and severe deformities, but in reality, it is not age-dependent. It can also affect children and adults. These types of common arthritis myths that you have heard and perhaps believed, may not be all true. The danger of these myths is that they can cloud your understanding levels and put you at risk of ineffective or unsafe treatments. So, read on as we debunk some common myths about arthritis that medical research has disproven.
Some common myths about arthritis
Myth 1: Exercise can make arthritis worse.
Fact: Exercise can be the best option to manage arthritis because it can improve muscle strength and prevent arthritis from worsening. Overweight or obese people are more likely to develop joint pain because extra weight puts more stress on the joints. Working out daily can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, improve balance, increase flexibility, and reduce the risk of arthritis. But you should always consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise regime.
Myth 2: Arthritis can affect only older people.
Fact: The most common myth about arthritis is that it can only affect senior citizens, but the reality is different. Different forms of arthritis can affect people of all ages and most of them are not older people. People between the ages of 40 and 60 are typically affected by rheumatoid arthritis whereas young adults under the age of 16 or above are affected by arthritis often referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arthritis isn’t a senior person’s disease, it can affect at any age even in infancy.
The most common form of arthritis due to wear and tear is often referred to as osteoarthritis. It affects senior people whose joints have been subjected to repeated injuries. It can affect both the small and large joints which cause severe pain.
Myth 3: The weather doesn’t influence arthritis.
Fact: Studies have found that change in temperatures or damp weather can increase inflammation. During cold and rainy days, the drop in pressure makes the inflamed tissues expand and trigger arthritis pain. According to the research, a 10-degree drop in temperature is related to a steady increase in joint inflammation.
[Also read: Joint pain during monsoon: What is the connection?]
Myth 4: Arthritis can be prevented.
Fact: The reality is arthritis can’t be prevented, but you can reduce the severity of symptoms by doing some sort of physical activity like walking, yoga, and following a healthy lifestyle. There are no clinically proven food supplements and miracle diets to cure arthritis.
Myth 5: Pain pills are the only treatment option for arthritis.
Fact: Medicines can only have pain-relieving effects, but can’t completely cure arthritis. All things considered, while medications help, they aren’t the best way to manage symptoms. Physical activity and some acupuncture therapies can improve flexibility and help to reduce inflammation.
Myth 6: Back pain can lead to arthritis in the back.
Fact: Although frequent back pain can be a symptom of arthritis, having back pain doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has arthritis. Back pain can have several causes including muscle strain, injuries in the back, and ruptured discs. If the back pain persists for a quite long time, then consult with the doctor.
Myth 7: Cracking knuckles leads to arthritis.
Fact: The popping sound of your knuckles is caused by bubbles bursting in the synovial fluid which is a lubricant in the joints. Although the cracking of knuckles may be associated with the weakening of grip strength or manual labor, it doesn’t lead to arthritis.
[Also read: Does the diet play a crucial role in arthritis? ]
Myth 8: Arthritis is a hereditary problem.
Fact: If any of your family members have arthritis, then it doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop it too. Even though a few people have joint pain and some don’t, living a healthy lifestyle will assist you with preventing the inflammation of arthritis as you age.
Although we know that a healthy lifestyle and a good diet can help to manage the pain and reduce the risk of arthritis inflammation, you should take an arthritis test or a full-body health checkup if the joint pain continues for a long time.
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