What is Arthritis? | Arthritis Types, Symptoms and Treatment

arthritis types symptoms and treatment

arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. In arthritis, the patient suffers from pain, & stiffness around one or more joints.

One of the leading causes – if not the leading cause – of disability in the world is arthritis. This means that over 40-50 million adults are forced to limit their activities because of their arthritic situation. 

But what is arthritis? And what can somebody suffering from this apparently debilitating condition do to enhance his or her quality of life?

What is Arthritis – An Overview

The word arthritis comes from the Greek term nomos arthritis or word-for-word “disease of the joints.” Therefore, from its etymology independently you can have some idea of what is arthritis.

But this disease, contrary to what some may accept, is not just one disease. It is, in fact, composed of more than a hundred different rheumatic diseases and infections that mainly affect the joints (hence, its name) although some specific types target the tissues which cover the joint as well as other connective tissue.

What is arthritis and what specific type it is can be defined by the pattern, severity, and location of symptoms? As usual, in most rheumatic situations, the patient usually suffers from pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints. In addition, these symptoms can produce all of a sudden or go through a gradual progression. In some cases, the illness may even impact the immune system and different internal organs of the body. 

For a more suitable gauge for deciding what is arthritis, below are concise profiles of two of the common forms of the sickness:

Common Types of Arthritis


When somebody asks “what is arthritis?” It suddenly comes to our minds is the particular form of arthritis called osteoarthritis, which is incidentally the most familiar type. This illness is distinguished by degeneration of the cartilage, its underlying bone, the joint, and its bony overgrowth. As these tissues break down, the patient begins to mourn the pain and stiffness of the joints. 

Osteoarthritis or OA generally happens in the knees, hips, hands, and spine. It is believed that the situation might be caused by both mechanical and molecular events happening in the affected joint, leading to its degeneration. Normally, osteoarthritis starts after the age of 40 and from there, the disease progression is gradual. There is no cure for osteoarthritis but there are several treatment choices available to handle the symptoms associated with it.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Another familiar form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis or RA. As a systemic inflammatory illness, rheumatoid arthritis displays itself in multiple joints, impacting the synovial membrane primarily and other organs secondarily. As the synovium, or the lining of the joints, inflames, the cartilage and bone begin to erode, perhaps leading to permanent joint deformity. 

The typical symptoms are pain, swelling, and redness. In addition, the illness is also associated with fatigue and extended stiffness after rest. Again, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis or RA, but there are several new drugs that are available to treat the illness. 

By understanding what is arthritis and its two familiar forms, you will have a better chance of understanding the illness as a whole and be in a better position to make informed conclusions when it comes to choosing treatment options.


Gout is one of the types of arthritis that results from too much uric acid in the body. With this condition, the body either makes too much uric acid or does not excrete it sufficiently.  Uric acid is a waste product of the body that is generally flushed out of the body by the kidneys through urine. This is a metabolic condition in which uric acids build up in the blood and crystals form in joints and other places causing sudden, extreme attacks, usually in the big toes, but any joint can be affected.  Drugs and awareness of diet can control gout.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is one of the kinds of arthritis that affects the spine.  A chronic inflammatory condition of the spine that can result in fused vertebrae and a stiff spine.  It generates pain and back stiffness and also bent posture, provoked by the continuing swelling and irritation of the spinal joints. In extreme cases, inflammation of the vertebrae generates them to fuse together leading to severely limited mobility.  This condition is often milder and harder to diagnose in women.

Juvenile Arthritis

Also called chronic youth arthritis, this type of this disease appears in children under the age of 16.  The illness generates pain, stiffness, and swelling in one or more of the joints called inflammation.  With juvenile arthritis, the inflammation stays longer than six weeks and is not caused by injury or another disease.  Some children heal completely but others remain affected throughout their lives.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis is one of the kinds of disease where the bone and other joint tissues evolve inflamed and like rheumatoid arthritis, can impact the whole body.  It also provokes a scaly skin rash on the skin of the elbows, knees and scalp.  It generally affects the wrists, knees, ankles, fingers and toes.  

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

This type of arthritis affects skin, joints, muscles, and periodically internal organs.  Also called lupus or SLE, where the body’s immune system quits working appropriately and the immune system attacks healthy tissues provoking these tissues to evolve swollen and painful, called inflammation.  The inflammation can occur in the skin, muscles or joints. The heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels or the nervous system can also be thrashed by the immune system.  There may be the duration of inflammation called flare-ups or periods where there is small or no inflammation called remissions.  Symptoms can appear in anyone at any age but usually, occur in women of childbearing age.

Arthritis Symptoms

One of the concerns repeatedly raised by those suffering from what could be arthritis symptoms is that the signs are far too identical to the symptoms generally associated with a sports injury. How do you know the difference? The first step consists in deciding what caused the arthritis symptoms to erupt. Question yourself the following questions for example:

Did it happen all of an impulsive?

Have you lately engaged in strenuous activities?

Do the arthritis symptoms, specifically the pain, intensify later in the day?

Do you experience stiffness and known discomfort around the joints even while resting?

Answering all of the above questions will help you decide what caused these arthritis symptoms to occur in the first place. Some individuals take the first step by “doctoring” themselves, taking over the counter pain killers, rubbing on arthritis creams, using ice packs, using heating pads, and the like. But self-treatment is strongly frustrated since there’s a higher probability that a patient may wait too long before consulting a doctor.

Where does it hurt?

Arthritis is an illness of the joints, hence, arthritis symptoms will most probably affect the joints. The joint is the location where two or more bones meet. Joints of the body naturally affected by the symptoms of this disease include the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and hips. In some types of this illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms could also appear in the joints of the spinal column. Also, rare cases of arthritis may affect the skin (psoriatic) as well as other organs of the body.


Next to pain, the most familiar arthritis symptoms are inflammation. The inflammation is usually accompanied by pain, redness, heat, and swelling. Although inflammation can make things very problematic for the person suffering from such arthritis symptoms, the process itself is truly the body’s basic response to injury. 

Usually, inflammation happens when the body’s immune system gets to work, bringing plasma proteins and phagocytes (or white blood cells that engulf and consume foreign material and waste) to the injured area. The cause is primarily to initiate tissue repair. Yet, with arthritic inflammation, the immune system is in defect since instead of defending it attacks the surrounding tissue, triggering the inflammatory response. 

Only a few kinds of arthritis really display this particular symptom, including:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica

Joint Deformity and Failure of Range of Motion

In some kinds of arthritis, the friction caused by the movement of bones in the joints enables the cartilage and surrounding connective tissue to produce new bone outgrowth. These outgrowths are known as spurs and are one of the main arthritis symptoms of osteoarthritis

Another telltale sign of this disease is bow-legged, a situation wherein the legs curve outwards as a consequence of an arthritic knee. Most arthritis causes the failure of a full range of motion, leaving patients mostly stationary and in extreme cases even permanently disabled. In order to avoid this from occurring, consult your doctor and decide what reasonable steps to take to halt disease progression.

Arthritis Treatment

No matter who you are or how old, arthritis can hit you at any time. This disease is a complex infection that causes painful inflammation of the joints. It impacts a lot of people – one out of three suffers joint pains due to this illness. And as painful as allergies.

There are actually several varieties, the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis compels the joints to become stiff and swollen, which, when moved, results in pain. In severe cases, it evolves too painful to move that the person’s mobility is compromised, directing to further disability. 

Treating Arthritis

Many analyses have been made regarding arthritis treatment. However, there are many misunderstandings about this illness, one of them living that this is just something that “you have to learn to live with.” And because of that, many sufferers never seek proper arthritis treatment and medical supervision.

While arthritis can be an exceptionally debilitating illness, correct treatment can help reduce the pain and control further damage. There is, regardless, no cure for arthritis yet, in the manner that there is no cure for diabetes or hypertension. But there are still several influential treatments available that you can take.

Here are some of them:


NSAIDs are Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, medicines used for arthritis therapy, especially in providing pain relief for the patient. Among the medications within this level are naproxen, ibuprofen, piroxicam, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and indomethacin

These medications are often among the first arthritis treatments that doctors specify to patients since their main function is to reduce pain. It does not however treat the issue itself. There has been information about side effects, such as irritation of the stomach lining, ulcers, and indigestion, so it is recommended that you take NSAIDs with anti-ulcer pills lets. 

Over-the-Counter Drugs

A typical form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is often manageable with such arthritis therapies as over-the-counter drugs. The drugs include easy analgesics, combination analgesics, topical anti-inflammatories, rubefacients, and glucosamine. This type of illness therapy is taken orally and in moderation in demand to avoid any unpleasant side effects. As for topical anti-inflammatories, this treatment is absorbed by the body through the skin and enters the bloodstream, so it is advised you take the exact precautions.

Herbal Remedies

A conventional method of administering arthritis treatment is through herbal remedies. These conventional remedies are often applied topically, usually massaged into the skin so they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of these diseases treatment remedies have skin-warming components while others act more like anaesthetics or pain killers. 

One good example of a spice that can be used in arthritis treatment is capsaicin. This is a pungent chemical found in red peppers and is obtainable commercially in cream form. The chemical acts mainly on pain and inflammation nerves, thus, helping ease the pain.

Nettle can also be a good replacement for capsaicin as an arthritis treatment. Usually, the leaves of the plant are removed and turned into a rubbing solution to help relieve the pain of illness. While it is not known how nettles function, it is assumed that the plant contains specific active ingredients that could affect the pain perception and transmission at the nerve endings.

Black Currant Seed Oil

This arthritis remedy arrives from the seeds of black currant (Ribes nigrum). Recognize that it is the oil of the black currant seeds that have properties (19% gamma-linolenic acid or GLA) that may help relieve arthritic pain, so do not confuse it with black currant berry. 

Black currant seed oils are dealt in capsules, ranging from 500mg to 1,000mg. 

Cat’s Claw

Another herb that may be used as an arthritis treatment is cat’s claw, a woody vine that develops in the Amazon rainforests of Peru. The dried root bark of this plant holds anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to treat osteoarthritis of the knees. 

This illness remedy arrives in the form of capsules, tablets, or tea bags with variable dosages. Side effects may have headaches, dizziness, and vomiting.

Wood Spider

A conventional herbal plant used in South Africa and Namibia, the wood spider can be used as an arthritis treatment for pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory. It is obtainable in a capsule form though you can also buy its powdered root or as a tea. 

There are of course several more herbs that may help reduce the pain that an arthritic patient suffers. Besides those supplied above, these herbs have eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), and flaxseed oil (Linum usitatissimum).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *