Since World Arthritis Day took place this month on the 12th, we felt it was important to cover many of the topics surrounding some of the major types of arthritis.

From osteoarthritis to juvenile arthritis to rheumatoid arthritis, here’s what we learned from our different posts this month on the blog.

1. Some osteoarthritis patients may find relief through at-home or alternative treatment options

“No matter what you do, you’ll have good days and bad days. Be sure that you have a few drug-free ways to lessen your pain at home. This way, you won’t have to worry about interactions with any other medications you take. A few options include hand-held massagers or massage pillows, analgesic creams, or at-home transcutaneous electrical nervous stimulation (TENS) devices.”

2. Recent research shows that lack of sleep can intensify osteoarthritis pain

“This means that while pain can interfere with sleep, a lack of sleep can exacerbate pain – further interfering with sleep patterns. Additionally, the risk of depression both increases and is increased by sleep deprivation and chronic pain. One study even confirmed that depression, pain, and sleep disturbances form a vicious cycle for people with osteoarthritis, with each condition worsening the others. However, just as sleep problems and osteoarthritis pain can each worsen the other, the reverse is also true. Improving one will also improve the other.”

3. Juvenile arthritis isn’t just one condition–it refers to multiple pediatric diseases 

“Many autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, as well as pediatric rheumatic diseases, that can potentially develop in children under age 16 are included under the umbrella of juvenile arthritis. Many of these different types of juvenile arthritis have similar symptoms. The most notable of these symptoms are pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the joints, although the severity of joint symptoms can vary depending on the type of juvenile arthritis.”

4. Researchers are working on two new potential treatments for rheumatoid arthritis that are both safe and accessible for patients

[R]esearcher Diederik De Cock at KU Leuven in the Netherlands has found a new drug therapy that effectively, safely, and cheaply targets [rheumatoid arthritis] symptoms early to prevent bone deterioration and loss, slowing the progression of RA.”

5. Surgery may eventually be a good option for your knee osteoarthritis, but it shouldn’t be your first line of defense 

“If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, it is important to talk with your doctor on a regular basis about your pain management plan. Age, activity, and lifestyle can make a huge difference in the success of treatment. Talk to your doctor and let her know if there are any changes in your level of pain. If the time comes to talk about surgery, make sure you have exhausted all other options first.”

6. When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, we can only treat symptoms, not cure the disease 

“While there is no cure for RA at this time, researchers have discovered new potential treatment plans that are safe and effective and may actually help slow the progression of the disease. The first and potentially easiest treatment to access is managing body mass index (BMI). Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) have discovered that patients with RA who are underweight or overweight have fewer periods of remission. These periods of remission were also shorter.”

7. From transdermal magnesium to acupuncture, there are some holistic treatments you may not have considered for your arthritis pain

“Arthritis pain affects nearly 175 million people worldwide. Whether it is juvenile arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that strikes during adolescence, or osteoarthritis that is most often diagnosed in those 55 and older, pain may be a daily fact of life. While a comprehensive treatment plan may include some form of analgesic, either prescribed or over-the-counter, there are other holistic treatments that can help minimize arthritis pain.”

8. Running may not actually lead to knee osteoarthritis symptoms

“To run or not to run? That is the question, especially if you suffer from knee osteoarthritis. Conventional wisdom has long been that high-impact activities such as running only compound the pain and damage of osteoarthritis. Joints are asked to absorb a jarring shock, often on hard surfaces, which has been thought to lead to an increase in osteoarthritis overall. Whether hard surface or trail running, which asks the knees to remain stable over uneven terrain, running can be a real pain for the knees. But what if running was not only not harmful but could also help prevent osteoarthritis? New research indicates that conventional wisdom banning running may actually be wrong.”

9. Healing herbs and essential oils can be incorporated into your daily routine to reduce inflammation and pain

“Compresses are typically used to treat minor pain. Adding an essential oil can complement the pain-relieving effects. For muscle pain, cramps, or arthritis pain, a hot compress is best. Add four drops of oil to a pint of hot water, soak a cloth in it, and then wrap the cloth around the painful area. A cold compress will work better for fevers, headaches, or any injury that might be accompanied by swelling, such as a sprain. To prepare a cold compress, follow the same steps as a hot compress, using cold or refrigerated water instead.”

What other facts did you learn about arthritis from our blog posts this month? Are there any topics you’d like us to cover in future posts? 

Image by Nana B Agyei via Flickr