When people hear about joint pain, often they think of old age and arthritis.
In fact 60 per cent of those who are diagnosed with arthritis are between the ages of 15 and 60. One in one thousand children are also diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.
While this is the most common cause - one in six Australians live with arthritis - its not a single disease but an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease.
There are more than 150 different types of arthritis and related conditions that affect one or more parts of the body that can start in many ways and can be difficult to recognise.
Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion.
Symptoms may come and go and can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years but may progress or get worse over time.
Some main types
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive condition that slowly wears away joint cartilage and most likely to occur after middle age - its when youve lost some of the smooth cartilage that helps with smooth range of motion.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that can strike at any age. Inflammatory arthritis is characterised by pain, swelling, tenderness and warmth in the joints, as well as morning stiffness that lasts for more than an hour.
Post-traumatic arthritis develops following an injury to the knee and can occur years after a torn meniscus, ligament injury or knee fracture.
People dont talk to their doctor because they assume nothing can be done about arthritis but thats not true. Also its a main cause of disability.
What you can do
- Find out what kind of arthritis you have
- Try treatments to help with the pain and stiffness or to slow arthritis down
- Regular exercise is good
- Find a balance between activity and rest
- Eat healthily and keep your weight within the normal range
- See what gadgets can improve everyday tasks
- Do the most activity on your good days
- Work closely with your healthcare professionals
- Hydrate your body
See arthritisaustralia.com.au for more information.