Arthritis is an ailment affecting the joints of the body. We all know that joint is a junction where two bones meet. One bone turns on the other, and aided by the contraction and relaxation of muscles around the joint, help us in moving our limbs, neck and back. While turning on one another, the bones become liable to friction; but specially designed cushioned pads called cartilages cover the bone heads at a joint, and stop the bones from rubbing against each other. These cartilages provide a gelatinous surface, and allow smooth and flexible movement of the joint. However with age, the cartilages become weak, fail to repair themselves after day to day wear and tear; the protein build up of the cartilages start degenerating.
The result is loss of cartilage and exposure of bones to friction. Bones rub against each other and get eroded. This leads to arthritis or joint inflammation. Obesity is another factor causing arthritis. As body weight increases, the load on the joints also increases. The cartilages wear out under excessive pressure exerted by increased body weight. Apart from age and obesity, heredity, previous history of bone injury or joint infection, calcium, potassium and phosphorus deficiencies, hormonal imbalances are other factors leading to arthritis. Among the several types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms.
Osteoarthritis occurs due to cartilage degeneration, and almost 80% of the world's elderly population is struck by osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune, systemic disorder attacking quite young people. In its case the body's own immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs by mistake, considering them to be foreign anti-bodies.
It is possible to check the progression of arthritis symptoms by slight alteration in life style and dietary changes. Light physical exercise is welcomed. If joints are left idle, the problem of stiffness will aggravate. However strenuous exercises and repetitive movements are to be shunned, for they may lead to further wearing out of affected joints. Alkaline diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables are to be taken. Meat, beef, pork increase the risk of gout, and therefore should be avoided.
The patient should keep away from smoking and alcohol intake, as these habits generate stress on body tissues and increase arthritis pain. Massaging can help a lot in fighting arthritis symptoms. Massaging gives a boost to blood circulation and relaxes the muscles around ailing joints. Hot vinegar, paraffin, castor oil, olive oil or herbal anti inflammatory massage oil such as Rumatone Gold Oil can be used for massaging. Warm water bath and alternate application of hot and cold compresses may relieve joint pain to some extent.