Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 47 million people in the US have some form of arthritis or chronic joint symptoms.
Arthritis, which literally means inflammation of a joint (where two or more bones meet), actually refers to more than 100 different diseases. Rheumatic diseases include any diseases that cause pain, stiffness and swelling in joints or other supportive body structures, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are often mistakenly associated with old age, because osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) occurs more often among elderly persons. However, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affect people of all ages. Arthritis is usually chronic, which means that it rarely changes, or it progresses slowly. Specific causes for most forms of arthritis are not yet known.
Joints are the areas where two bones meet. Most joints are mobile, allowing the bones to move. Joints consist of the following:
The three most prevalent forms of arthritis include the following:
Other forms of arthritis, or related disorders, include the following:
The following are the most common symptoms of arthritis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of arthritis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for arthritis may include the following:
An arthritis rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient, depending upon the type and severity of the arthritis. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.
The goal of arthritis rehabilitation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible while improving the overall quality of life—physically, emotionally and socially. The focus of rehabilitation is on relieving pain and increasing motion in the affected joint(s).
In order to help reach these goals, arthritis rehabilitation programs may include the following:
The goal of hip and knee replacement surgery is to improve the function of the joint. Full recovery after joint replacement usually takes about three to six months, depending on the type of surgery, overall health of the patient, and the success of rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation programs after joint replacement may include the following:
Arthritis rehabilitation programs can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the arthritis rehabilitation team, including any/all of the following:
© 2014 Main Line Health
Copyright 2011 Main Line Health
Printed from: www.mainlinehealth.org/oth/Page.asp?PageID=OTH005886