Arthritis is a common condition that causes joint pain and stiffness. About 20 percent of the Canadian population lives with the symptoms of arthritis; many struggles with the day-to-day effects of this progressive joint condition1. Learning about arthritis can help you recognize early signs of arthritis so you can pursue treatment that can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
How do joints work?
Joints are where two or more bones meet. Most joints create a moveable connection, which allow our bodies to twist, turn, and move in almost every direction. Attached to the bones, muscle, ligaments, and tendons to hold the joints together and aid movement2.
Other tissues help joints move, and work to keep joints healthy. Joints consist of bone and cartilage, to prevent them from rub together when joints move. They also contain a synovium lining which produces a lubricating liquid, known as synovial fluid, that cushions the bones and reduces friction2.
What causes joint pain?
Sometimes joints can start to feel stiff and sore, and you may feel that discomfort in that hands, feet, hips or knees – that’s joint pain3. But do you wonder why you might be experiencing joint pain, say in the morning or after strenuous activities?
What is causing the joint pain can explain what’s happening to your joints. For example, Osteoarthritis (OA), a very common type of arthritis, may be the culprit3. OA occurs when the cartilage between your bones start to wear away overtime and begins to feel painful3. We’ll discuss more on what arthritis is and how it can happen.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is not a single disease – the term is used to describe several conditions that cause inflammation, to pain, and limited movement in joints and connective tissue4. While arthritis can damage any joint, it most commonly deteriorates joints in the knees, hips, and other weight-bearing joints. Symptoms may vary according to the type of arthritis and its location. Osteoarthritis often affects the hips, where it causes pain, stiffness, difficulty walking, limited range of motion, and pain with normal activities that gets worse with exertion5,6.
Injuries can dramatically increase your risk for developing arthritis in that part of your body. = Still, you can have arthritis in a joint you have never injured.
What can cause knee pain without injury?
If you have knee pains but have never injured your knee, you may have arthritis. Knee pain and arthritis can prevent you from enjoying your favourite social and recreational activities5.
What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?
There are several types of arthritis4, and each can cause specific symptoms. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in Canada and it affects more Canadians than all other forms of arthritis combined. OA is considered a progressive disease as it affects the whole joint, leading to deterioration of the joint cartilage and the underlying bone overtime. OA could occur due to damage from consistent exposure to heavy workloads as well as injury.4
Early signs and symptoms of arthritis
As a progressive condition, the signs and symptoms change over time. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of arthritis early in its development gives you time to act. These early signs and symptoms can include8:
- Intermittent pain with strenuous activity such as running, jogging and jumping rope.
- Joint stiffness, especially in the morning.
- Joint grinding sound or sensation in joints like the knee and hip.
Certain factors can increase your risk for developing arthritis. You can control some – but not all – risk factors.
Non-modifiable risk factors include:
- Age – While arthritis can develop at any age, osteoarthritis is common after the age of 50.9
- Sex – An estimated 64 percent of people with arthritis in Canada are women; most types of arthritis are more common in women10.
- Hormones – there may be a link between hormones and some types of arthritis, including OA11.
- Heredity – Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis11.
Modifiable risk factors include10:
- Physical inactivity – A sedentary lifestyle may increase the progress and severity of arthritis
- Overweight or obesity – Excess weight can contribute to the development and severity of arthritis
- Diet – Food choices may lead to weight gain
- Smoking – Smokers have higher levels of inflammatory proteins that play a role in joint damage12.
Treatments of arthritis
While there is no cure for arthritis, treatments are available to help relieve pain, increase joint mobility and strength, and even control the disease. Home remedies for arthritis include13,14:
- Rest – Taking a break from activity can reduce pressure on your joints.
- Medication – Over-the-counter pain relievers like TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain, 8H provide fast, long-lasting and relief of mild to moderate pain.
- Physical therapy – Performing specific movements can improve joint mobility.
- Hot or cold compress – Heat melts stiffness while cold reduces discomfort.
- Joint protection – Changes in the way you move, such as avoiding positions that cause pressure on your joints, can reduce pain and stiffness.
- Exercise – Stretching, walking, swimming, cycling, and other physical activities strengthen muscles.
While home treatment can effectively reduce pain and control arthritis, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional about treatments for joint health.
How to prevent arthritis
While you cannot always prevent arthritis, you can take steps to reduce your risk for developing joint disease. To lower your risk for developing arthritis15:
- Get some light exercise – Low-impact exercises, such as swimming, can strengthen muscles without causing pressure on joints.
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Achieving and maintain a healthy body weight helps prevent joint stress.
- Avoid tobacco products as it can increase chances of inflammation12.
- Protect your joints – Avoid lifting heavy objects, climbing stairs, and other activities that cause joint pressure.
TYLENOL® to the rescue
TYLENOL® relieves mild to moderate arthritis pain so you can get back to doing the things you love. TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain, 8H is a unique bi-layer extended-release caplet that can alleviate arthritis pain for up to 8 hours. To be sure any TYLENOL® product is right for you, always read and follow the label.
For more information about arthritis, consult with your doctor or other healthcare professional.