Living a busy, active lifestyle can be draining and can cause everyday aches and pains. But for the one in five Americans who suffer from arthritis, even the smallest task can be disruptive and painful.
There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. And while each shares similarities, there is no simple cause to why people get arthritis. Still, there are common risk factors that may make one person more likely to develop arthritis than others. What then are the different causes of arthritis and can any of them be prevented?
Because of genetic makeup, some people are more prone to develop arthritis than others. Many forms of arthritis are genetic and run in the family. You have a greater chance of developing certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, which are linked to specific genes.
As we get older, our joints get worn down which can leave us vulnerable to arthritis. The “wear and tear” brand of arthritis, which is most commonly known as osteoarthritis, can be managed before it becomes more severe. Bone density is also lost as we age, making our bones and joints more brittle, causing inflammation and pain.
Although anyone can develop arthritis, most types of arthritis, with the exception of gout, are more common among women.
Those with physically demanding occupations may be at greater risk of developing arthritis, especially if the job involves heavy repetitive activity, such as working in a factory or lifting heavy items; or physical activity, such as an athlete or salesperson who experiences long episodes standing on their feet. Oftentimes, accommodations such as standing mats or rest breaks can help lessen stress on joints and muscles.
Smoking and Drinking
Arthritis can be aggravated by tobacco products and excessive alcohol use. Drinking can leave you at a higher risk of developing gout, while smoking could leave you susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis,
Some foods, such as fried and processed foods, dairy products, salt and preservatives, and sugars and refined carbs can all worsen arthritis pain, especially for those who have gout. Even small changes in diet can make a big difference with regard to arthritic pain.
Having a previous injury to your joints can increase the likelihood of developing arthritis.
Infection and Illness
When the immune system can no longer function efficiently, one can get inflammatory arthritis; that’s because when the body works to fight off infection, sometimes that infection can start to attack the healthy joints. In addition, certain arthritis are considered auto-immune diseases, most commonly, rheumatoid arthritis, which happens when the body’s immune system starts to attack itself.
Carrying around extra pounds on your frame can increase stress on your joints – especially lower back, knees and hips. A lean, healthy diet combined with both aerobic and weight-bearing exercise performed under supervision can ease, and even prevent, the symptoms of arthritis.
Don’t let arthritis pain rule your life
Arthritis can cause a vicious cycle of pain for many, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make lifestyle changes and learn exercises and treatments that can help you cope with your arthritis pain. A physical therapist can teach you tips and tricks on how to make everyday tasks easier in order to live a normal, pain-free life with arthritis. Physical therapy can help you live a healthier, more active life, despite your arthritis.
Are you suffering from arthritis? There’s no need to live with unbearable pain. The physical therapists at Endeavor Rehab Center can help improve your quality of life. Call our friendly and knowledgeable staff at (512) 284-7192 to request an appointment or request an appointment online.