What Is Arthritis?
The word arthritis stems from the Greek roots arthro, meaning "joint" and itis, meaning "inflammation", though inflammation is not necessarily a feature of all types of arthritis. There are in fact more than 200 different forms of arthritis that can affect people young and old, but they all have one feature in common: joint pain.
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, the result of wear and tear on the joints as a consequence of the normal aging process; and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease whereby the body’s own immune cells degrade the cartilage that protects the joints. In each case, the cartilage between the bones of the joints, which normally provides a smooth surface for the bones of the joints to glide against, can be worn down such that the bones instead grind against each other. As well as being painful, this can also cause swelling of the joints, swelling and a decreased range of motion. People with arthritis often find it difficult to walk unaided, bend down, or grip objects in the hands.
Though there is no cure for arthritis, it can be treated with steroid drugs to reduce the swelling and anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, to combat the pain. In serious cases where arthritis affects the ability of a person to carry out a normal life, patients may be offered an operation to replace the natural joint with an artificial prosthesis, though the success of this type of operation can be variable and doesn’t come without a great deal of rehabilitation therapy.
Sufferers of arthritis can manage the symptoms on a day to day basis by seeking to reduce stress on the joints. Arthritis often accompanies obesity, so if the patient is overweight, taking measures to lose weight and maintain a body mass index rating within the normal range will almost always ease pain and swelling of the joints. Exercise and physical therapy will also help to improve range and ease of motion, as well as build muscle tone to help support the joints.
Another way that arthritic pain can be managed is with hydrotherapy, such as that found by relaxing in a warm hydrotherapy bath or spa. In the home, this type of relaxation can be achieved with the installation of a home hydrotherapy bath, with strategically positioned massage jets to gently soothe the affected joints and ease sore areas of the body. The majority of arthritis sufferers who use hydrotherapy baths find that a walk-in style hydrotherapy bath is best, since this eliminates the need to step over the high threshold of the bath – something that is often difficult, painful and often impossible without a hoist or the assistance of another person.
AmeriGlide specializes in providing walk in tubs for the elderly and the disabled at the lowest prices possible. For assistance in choosing the perfect walk in tub for your needs, please contact our bath safety experts today.