Arthritis No Longer Unstoppable: Treatment Advances Reduce Its Impact
The two major forms of arthritis affect joints for different reasons. Osteoarthritis, the most common diagnosis, usually appears with age, but can also arise after an injury to the bones of our joints. The cartilage that cushions those bones breaks down, and the joint becomes painful to use. Knees, hips, hands and shoulders, the joints we use the most, are typically the first to be made painful by osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis disrupts the immune system, affecting the membranes of every joint in the body. Other immune system illnesses, like Lupus erythematosus, can also produce arthritis.
HOW TO LIVE WITH ARTHRITIS:
• Stay active. Muscles are the joints' support system, keeping them in proper position to do their work. Without regular exercise, muscles shrink, leaving the joints more vulnerable and speeding up their wear and tear. Consult your doctor about what kind of exercise is appropriate for you.
• Maintain a healthy weight—extra weight stresses joints.
• If you have joint replacement surgery, make sure you follow your doctor’s orders about rehabilitative exercise.
• Managing arthritis pain includes a variety of methods: acupuncture, massage, mindfulness training and the right combination of medications. The Stanford Health Library is open to the public and offers many resources as well as free lectures. The Stanford Pain Management Center also has information about how to combine various therapies.
• Physicians now understand that across-disciplinary treatment plan is the most effective. Your surgeon or rheumatologist might recommend that you consult with a physical therapist, psychologist, dietitian or pain specialist.
For more information, contact Stanford Hospital & Clinics at 650-723-4000 or the Stanford Health Library. It has three locations: Stanford Shopping Center, 650-725-8400; Stanford Hospital, 650-725-8100; Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center, 875 Blake Wilbur Dr.,
If you sit around and say, 'Poor me,' you'll never get anything done. I keep moving and keep active.