Knee PainAs you age, there are so many parts of your body that can malfunction or break down that you could never count them all. You may already be suffering from back problems, leg pain, or stiff joints. However, when it is more than just a little twinge and the pain constantly prevents you from engaging in normal, daily activities, it could be arthritis.

A diagnosis of arthritis may imply a lifetime of aches and a progression of joint damage that does not always go away with an over-the-counter remedy. Nevertheless, there is no need for despair because there are several new and alternative arthritis treatments that might offer relief for you.

A Definition of Arthritis

You try to open a bottle of water but you can’t. Going up or down just a few stairs is something you avoid. Forget running a marathon, weight training, or even jumping around with the kids in the yard. People who are living with arthritis may have difficulty with simple situations that the rest of us take for granted.

There are numerous types of ailments that fall under the umbrella of the term arthritis, but all involve a trouble with one or more of your joints. The work done by your joints is fairly straightforward, that is, to move one bone in tandem with another. Some examples of joints are your elbows, knees, toes, wrists, and ankles. Practically every motion you make that allows you to stand, sit, walk, and exercise involves a joint of some kind.

Joints are made up of several different parts. There is cartilage, which provides protection to keep your bones from grinding against each other. Then there are ligaments that are stretchy and expand or tighten in response to muscle movement so that the joint can work properly. In addition, there is liquid inside the joint that promotes fluidity for both the joint and the cartilage.

When you have arthritis, it typically means that something is not right with the joint or its components. There is also a category of arthritis that concerns your body’s immune system. In this case, the system goes out of whack and causes your body to recognize its own normal tissue and materials as a disease and begins to fight it. Other sources for arthritis could be viruses, an injury, or a bone break.

Doctors have identified more than 75 different kinds of arthritis. Among the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Even ailments such as fibromyalgia and gout are classified as types of arthritis.

It is also important to note that arthritis is not just a disease of the aged. Research has shown that more than 50% of those diagnosed with arthritis are under the age of 65 and some of these are even children. Often, our pets can also acquire the disease.

New Products on the Market for Arthritis

Everyone remembers the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, who needed just a little oil to get his joints moving again. For those who have arthritis, it can be a struggle to fight back against the pain every day so you can do more of the things you love.

Children who suffer from arthritis have recently found hope in a new medication, given by injection, called canakinumab, known on the market as Ilaris. It has just been given clearance by the Food and Drug Administration to help with immune system disorders.

Some researchers are optimistic about experiments done with stem cells to help animals with arthritis. Doing tests on humans using stem cells is still a few years away but plans are being made to continue this research. Another treatment that shows promise uses anti-nerve growth factor to ease arthritis pain in some individuals.

Alternative Therapies for Arthritis

Arthritis is sometimes called a silent disease because, unless your case is severe or someone catches you laboring to complete a simple task, most of the people who see you are probably unaware of your condition. That does not make the pain any less debilitating.

Most doctors will tell you that the best way to combat arthritis pain is to move and exercise. Of course, the problem with that is the pain makes this easier said than done. It is advised that you try workouts that can be less painful, such as tai chi or yoga, which also help to enhance your power and stability.

Acupuncture, the art of inserting needles at various points of your body to affect energy flow, has also proven successful for some people who are living with arthritis. Some people swear by other methods including metals, like special bracelets, and hypnosis. Nutritional supplements on the shelves such as ginger root and fish oils have also worked to reduce inflammation.

If you decide to check out any of these alternatives, it is best to speak with your physician or rheumatologist first. While they are probably harmless and a lot less expensive than other therapies, they are not usually a viable substitute for conventional arthritis treatment.