How To Move Without Pain

The Truth Behind 6 Common Arthritis Myths

by Meghan Griech, PT, DPT, cert MDT, CKTP

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Whether feeling stiff as a tin-man or knowing when the rain is coming, arthritis can make your joints feel painful and sideline you from the activities you enjoy. 

Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about arthritis that can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. In this article, we will explore some of the most common myths about arthritis, joint pain, and how to manage it effectively. We will also discuss the various treatments available for arthritis, as well as preventing disability from arthritis, or not limiting activity because of pain in the first place. By understanding these myths and facts about arthritis, we can help people better understand this condition and take better care of their joints.

Arthritis is just an ‘old person’s disease’

Arthritis doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age—it can impact people of various ages, from children & teenagers to the elderly. In fact, a significant portion (nearly 3 out of 5) of all those affected by arthritis are younger than 65. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types among younger individuals.

Arthritis causes all joint pain.

Arthritis is a common condition that can potentially cause pain and discomfort in the joints. While arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain, other conditions such as bursitis, tendinitis, and gout can also lead to joint pain and inflammation. Oftentimes, muscle weakness and straining is the cause of the pain felt with movement, walking and standing. Fortunately, with strengthening and stretching the affected muscles and connective tissues, many people are able to manage their joint pain and regain mobility.

Arthritis worsens with exercise.

No way! The opposite is true. Movement is helpful and healthy for joints. Joint movement helps the body’s self-lubricating process, giving much-needed fluid and mobility to the joint tissues need. Additionally, ​​exercise can be a beneficial way of improving joint movement, muscle strength, and connective tissue flexibility. It can help reduce swelling, improving tolerance to activities and joint motion.

Arthritis causes deformities. 

Arthritis is a condition that causes joint changes and pain. It is a degenerative disease that affects the joints, causing inflammation, stiffness, and pain. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between bones begins to break down. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout.

No matter what type of arthritis you have, it can cause swelling in the joints and lead to joint damage over time. This can cause pain, stiffness, difficulty in movement and decreased range of motion in the affected area. 

With maintenance of joint mobility, muscle strength and an understanding of joint inflammatory states joint shape and positions can be maintained, it is possible to relieve the pain associated with arthritis and reduce the risk of further joint damage.

Arthritis isn’t serious and can just be ignored

Arthritis can be a painful condition and should not be ignored. It is more than just “minor aches and pains” – it can have a meaningful impact on one’s day-to-day life, so please don’t ignore it. Often x-rays will show arthritic changes of the joints, even stating that the joint is ‘bone on bone’ yet that does not have a correlation on pain, disability and inflammation according to research. 

Lack of activity not only affects the health of our joints and connective tissues, but our heart health, lung capacity, and balance. Reduced activity for any reason can turn into a systemic problem for our whole body. 

There is no cure, you just have to live with arthritis and the pain. 

​​Living with arthritis can often be challenging. Nevertheless, there are many treatments and lifestyle modifications one can try to make it more manageable. Living with arthritis can often be challenging. Nevertheless, there are many treatments and lifestyle modifications one can try to make it more manageable. Many types of exercises and activities can help with many issues arthritis patients may have including pain, stiffness, and range of motion. Modifying the activity initially until the joint is less painful can be helpful, for example if walking is painful, try riding a bike or elliptical or try walking in water. 

Arthritis is a common condition that affects many people everyday, causing joint pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding arthritis that can lead to misconceptions and wrong approaches to how to treat it. It is important to understand the truth behind some of these myths in order to get the right treatment for your condition. 

  • Mobility exercises such as stretching can help to keep your joints flexible and have a full range of motion – this can contribute to maintaining healthy joints.
  • Building strength through exercises, like weight-bearing activities, can help provide stability to the joints and ultimately improve their function.
  • To boost your cardiovascular fitness, engaging in aerobic exercises like walking and cycling can be really beneficial.

*Disclaimer: All information in this article is intended for instruction and informational purposes. The author(s) are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result.  This information is used to supplement not replace any advice you were provided from your doctor or another medical health professional.  No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied with this article.

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