Arthritis literally means joint inflammation and is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting about one in every six Americans. Although arthritis is often referred to as one disease, it's not. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis.
Types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is most common in women and adults over age 45. It may affect any joint in the body, including those found in the fingers, hips, knees, lower back and feet. The next most common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis affecting 1 in every 100 people; this autoimmune disease is three times more common in women than in men. Other forms of arthritis include chronic ankylosing spondylitis, which initially affects the spine and the joints between the spine and the pelvis, and reactive arthritis, which typically develops after an infection. Both gout and pseudogout are types of arthritis in which crystals are deposited in a joint, resulting in swelling and pain, and septic arthritis can develop when infection enters a joint.
How does arthritis develop? Although the exact causes of arthritis is unclear, these factors may increase the risk: being 45 years old or older and female; certain hereditary conditions, defective cartilage and malformed joints; joint injuries caused by physical labor or sports; obesity; and having other diseases that change the normal structure and function of cartilage, such as hemochromatosis and Paget's disease.
What are the symptoms of arthritis? Arthritis sufferers may experience the following signs and symptoms: pain and tenderness in joints that worsens with activity and is relieved by rest, discomfort in a joint before or during a change in weather, bony lumps on the middle or end joints of the fingers or the base of the thumb, loss of joint flexibility, swelling around the joint, restricted joint movement, crackling noise (called crepitus) when moving the affected joint and referred pain (in areas remote from the site of damage but on the same nerve pathway as the affected joint).
Treatments for arthritis: Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis but they do not address the root of the problem of ligament laxity and joint instability. By assisting the body to strengthen the structural weaknesses in the body, Prolotherapy can help alleviate pain permanently.
Click here to learn more about ligament laxity and how it leads to arthritis.
Click here to read a patient’s story of Prolotherapy injection treatment saving him from bilateral knee replacements. This story was published in the Journal of Prolotherapy.