5 Common Myths About Arthritis

When you’re talking about the biggest cause of disability in America with over 50 million people in the country affected by the condition, it’s no surprise that some arthritis information can become a little distorted or even completely inaccurate at times. Which is why it is important to cautiously comb through the evidence yourself and separate the fact from the fiction.

To get you started, here are five of the most widely spread myths in the arthritis world. How many did you believe were true?

“Arthritis is an Elderly Disorder”

Although the threat of arthritis undoubtedly increases as you get older, it is reported that around 300,000 infants to teenagers struggle with different shades of this disease every day. In fact, there is a particular version of arthritis which exists (depressingly called “juvenile idiopathic arthritis”) which exclusively occurs in children.

Statistics may report that roughly half of people over the age 65 currently have some form of the disorder, but this figure only works to further disadvantage the younger victims, as people under 45 burdened with the joint pain are often misdiagnosed and don’t get the proper medical care they desperately require.

“Physical Activity Worsens Arthritis”

It’s easy to understand why this myth has prevailed so vigorously throughout the years. If you feel pain when you move, what is your most natural reaction? To stop moving, of course. However, more and more studies have indicated that this approach is completely backwards, and inactivity can actually cause the joints to deteriorate even faster.

Always consult with your doctor first, but with regular participation in low-impact exercise (such as water aerobics, tai chi, or yoga), you can reduce stiffness, increase mobility, maintain strength, and lose any extra weight that may be placing an excess of pressure on the joints. Ensure you get plenty of rest between workouts, and enjoy the elevated mood these proactive measures are famous for providing.

“Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis”

For those of you who are addicted to the sound of their own joints popping, there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that studies are unable to find any proof connecting the manual bursting of fluid in your knuckles to the development of arthritis in later life, no matter what your grandmother has been telling you. Rather, reports indicate that those who indulge in this annoying habit run the exact same risk for future complications as those who don’t.

The bad news, however, is that this repetitive action is still very unlikely to do your hands any favors. Certain studies have argued that perpetual knuckle snaps can weaken the grip and cause inflammation, while others are much more concerned about how few studies on the topic even exist, despite how common the practice is. Basically, no one truly knows the consequences, and so don’t use this point as an excuse to keep doing it.

“Arthritis Can Be Cured with the Right Diet”

The food versus arthritis debate rages on, with many studies suggesting that broccoli, whole grains, fish, and anti-inflammatory spices (such as ginger and turmeric) can diminish the swelling of the joints and, as a result, help manage the pain. On the other side of the fence, however, there are those who point out how little human-research evidence there is to support this as an effective treatment, and they have argued that any improvements could even be down to a placebo effect.

Of course, in any physical disorder, it is always highly recommended to keep a keen eye on the foods you consume, but the simple fact is that any reliable cure for arthritis is yet to be discovered. Thankfully, there are other pain management alternatives available with much better track records of success, such as hand creams, acupuncture, and various injections.

“Once You Have Arthritis, There is No Hope”

While arthritis is currently an incurable condition, researching your specific type of the affliction and becoming aware of the myths can minimize the toll it takes on your everyday lifestyle. Getting an in-depth diagnosis sooner rather than later, taking the correct medications, and staying active with a balanced diet are just some of the more common suggestions to prevent your hands from holding you back. Keep up to date and experiment with the copious amounts of home remedies freely accessible online, and ask your physician for recommendations until you find which approach best works for you.

Knowledge is your most powerful ally in these matters, and so you should regularly cross-check multiple sources to avoid getting tricked by urban legends and superstitions. And with such a huge community of arthritis sufferers around the globe, it helps to know that you are not alone, and there is always helping hand never far from yours.

 

Image courtesy of stockdevil at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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