Arthritis Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Arthritis Treatment and Prevention

Author’s Bio: Ria Ellendula is an incoming college freshman who is passionate about public health and healthcare policy 

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or more. There are approximately 3 million new cases of arthritis in the US per year. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, including Spondyloarthropathies, Lupus erythematosus, Gout, etc. Amongst these, the three most prevalent types are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Psoriatic Arthritis. For more information on other types of arthritis, you can visit these articles published by Healthline, John Hopkins, CDC, and Webmd.  

What causes Arthritis?

Arthritis is caused by a reduction in the regular amount of cartilage tissue that an individual has. As stated by Healthline, when the amount of cartilage connective tissue is less than normal, it can cause arthritis.


What is it?

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (or the “wear and tear” disease) occurs when cartilage in your joints breaks down completely. Individuals with osteoarthritis may experience pain, bone injury, or bone spur formation. Osteoarthritis can be debilitating to an individual’s daily routine. Some people with Osteoarthritis are unable to carry out daily tasks. It is most common near the hands, hips, and knees regions.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation (popping or crackling near joint area)
  • Bone spurs (extra bits of bone that form around affected region)
  • Swelling


Most doctors use noninvasive procedures to treat osteoarthritis; however, in cases where the noninvasive treatments have not been working, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Exercise
    • Gentle, low-impact exercises can relieve much of the pain, fatigue, and stiffness that accompanies osteoarthritis. It also works to increase muscle strength and ensure healthier joints. 
    • Good exercises for osteoarthritis include aquatic exercises, as the water provides additional support for your muscles and joints. Exercising in warm water brings in more nutrients to damaged tissue. 
      • Walking in water (about waist-high) allows you to create resistance and can target areas in the arms, core, and lower body
      • Water arm lifts or lateral arm lifts using foam dumbbells can strengthen the muscles
      • Jumping jacks
    • Ultimately, any exercise that can stretch your joints and keep you flexible is ideal for treating osteoarthritis.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
    • Foods with high antioxidant content (fruits, vegetables, etc.)
    • Low-fat dairy foods
    • Healthy oils
  • Cold and heat
    • Cold: If you want to use cold treatments, you can apply ice to the affected region for approximately 20 minutes, which will reduce fluid in the tissue and decrease swelling. This can be repeated throughout the day. Make sure that the “ice pack” you use is first wrapped in a cloth before being applied. 
    • Heat: You can perform the aforementioned treatment with a heating pad or warm compress. This increases circulation, which can repair damaged tissue and ease stiffness. 
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
    • Keep in mind that NSAIDs could have significant impacts over time. They can potentially cause side effects, such as stomach problems, liver damage, kidney damage, bleeding problems, etc. 
  • Topical medications 


What is it?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune form of arthritis (the immune system attacks the body). When an individual has RA, their immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in their body, leading to inflammation in the affected regions (usually the hands, wrists, and knees). RA typically affects joints on both sides of the body and causes bumps underneath the skin. It can additionally provoke problems in vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes. If unaddressed, such complications can occur:
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid Nodules
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Abnormal body composition
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Heart problems
  • Lung disease
  • Lymphoma

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Warm, tender joints
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Symptoms may also affect non joint areas including salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, and bone vessels



For those seeking non medicinal treatments for RA, you can look into home remedies, changes in diet, and exercise. 

  • Yoga: Yoga has been proven to reduce fatigue and chronic pain in young women who have been diagnosed with RA. It also has the potential to decrease joint pain and inflammation.
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage: Moderate pressure massages can lessen pain and increase the range of motion for people with RA
  • Dietary changes: diet can significantly affect the way you experience your RA symptoms. By making certain changes in your diet, you may be able to decrease joint pain and swelling.
    • Eat foods with high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties (lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, yogurt, spices, etc.) 
    • Probiotic Supplements
  • Cold and heat:
    • Applying an ice pack for 20 minutes can numb pain and reduce muscle spasms
    • A hot shower can also assist in relieving aching muscles and reducing pain, stiffness, and disability
  • Exercises: Gentle, low-impact exercises can greatly improve joint function, increase range of motion, and alleviate the pain that comes with RA. Specifically, aquatic exercises (as described above) can help tremendously. 


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Corticosteroids
  • Acetaminophen (tylenol)
  • Immunosuppressants


What is it?

Psoriatic Arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that affects about 30% of people who have been diagnosed with Psoriasis (a skin disease that causes a rash on elbows, knees, ankles, feet, and hands). There are two types of Psoriatic Arthritis — Oligoarticular and Polyarticular. Oligoarticular is not as severe, affecting four or fewer joints, whereas Polyarticular affects more than four joints. Risk Factors: Although doctors have not yet determined the specific cause of psoriatic arthritis, it can be triggered by an infection or genetics. Psoriasis is usually set off by strep throat. Having psoriasis beforehand can cause the arthritic condition to develop as well. Psoriatic Arthritis can increase the likelihood for developing Gout (a different type of arthritis), fatigue, obesity, metabolic syndrome (includes high BP, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar), fibromyalgia,depression and anxiety.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis:

  • Swollen fingers and toes
  • Foot and lower back pain
  • Fatigue 
  • Swelling around tendons
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Eye redness
  • Nail changes


Lifestyle Changes

  • Keeping a healthy weight 
    • Dietary changes can significantly help relieve joint stress and pain. Switching to foods that are high in antioxidants (fruits, vegetables, etc.) has been shown to assist people with psoriatic arthritis
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Exercises: Gentle, low-impact exercises can greatly improve joint function, increase range of motion, and alleviate the pain that comes with psoriatic arthritis. Specifically, aquatic exercises (as described above) can help tremendously. 
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Acupuncture or massage therapy


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Immunosuppressants
  • UV light therapy 
  • Biologics
  • Enzyme inhibitors: they block a certain enzyme called PDE-4, which helps slow reactions that cause inflammation


Online Doctor Consultation For Arthritis

If you or someone in your family have concerns about arthritis, please contact and seek help from our doctors online. At Home Urgent Care provides Telehealth services so you can safely and confidently keep your health in check with our primary and urgent care services and get treatment online. Feel free to book an appointment today with our health experts available at your convenience 365 days a year and get yo

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