When it comes to talking about arthritis pain, inflammation comes up in every conversation. The two go hand in hand which means treating the inflammation to handle the pain associated with arthritis. Inflammation occurs when the white blood cells of the body go into protection mode against infection and foreign objects in the body. When a person suffers from arthritis, the inflammation process is enacted even when there are no enemies to battle. This is often called misdirected inflammation.
Misdirected inflammation is associated with most forms of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and gouty arthritis. Other forms of arthritis affected by inflammation include polymyalgia rheumatica and systemic lupus erythematosus. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is not commonly associated with inflammation.
What Happens When Inflammation Occurs?
When inflammation hits the joints and connective tissues of the body, symptoms begin to occur. The most common symptoms include redness of the area, swelling, warmness of the joints, pain and stiffness in joints and joint function loss. Not all of these symptoms will present at the same time and the symptoms can appear and disappear from day to day.
As a protective reaction, inflammation works to lock down a specific area of the body, through swelling, and rush blood to the area for healing, warmth and redness. When there is no infection to be treated, the misdirected inflammation can continue for long periods of time unless the source of the problem is found and treated.
What Happens After Prolonged Misdirected Inflammation?
Inflammation is not supposed to continue for long period of time. In most arthritis cases, the prolonged inflammation and swelling of an area directly affects the physical makeup and function of the joint. Over time, swelling and chemicals commonly used to treat infection by the body, can wear down the tissues protecting the joints. Once these wear down, the bones will begin to rub together causing even more pain and swelling. Swelling of the synovium, or joint lining, can also occur if inflammation is not treated.
Alternative Methods of Treating Inflammation and Arthritis Pain
There are several alternative choices that may help reduce inflammation in the joints and thus reduce or eliminate the pain associated with arthritis. Fish oil, for instance, has been shown to reduce inflammation of the joints enough to stop arthritis pain from occurring all together, according to Harvard Medical School research. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids which have an anti-inflammatory affect on the body. Other common sources of omega 3s include salmon, herring and other cold water fish. Certain seeds and whole grains are also a great source of omega 3s.
While many people who suffer from arthritis pain feel exercise will cause an increase in pain, this is not the case. Exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation which means taking a walk on the treadmill or through the park can reduce the pain associated with arthritis. Hand exercises also work wonders to reduce swelling and pain.
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