Greetings, dear readers
Arthritis is a condition commonly associated with the elderly. However, statistics have shown that arthritis can affect people of all ages and has been diagnosed in people from various cultures and life styles. In the UK alone, roughly ten million people suffer from this musculoskeletal condition, which is often recognised by the resulting pain in a person’s joints. Some may be wondering what arthritis is exactly. The name of this specific joint disorder comes from the merging of two words; with the term ‘arthro-‘ meaning joints or something involving the joints, and ‘-itis’ indicating that inflammation has occurred. There are a few types of arthritis but, in this post, we will focus on the main two, which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative or mechanical arthritis, affects the smooth cartilage that lines the joint and keeps the ends of two connected bones from rubbing together. The more the cartilage hardens and breaks down, the harder the surrounding ligaments and tendons would have to work. This often leads to swelling, the formation of bone-like spurs known as osteophytes and, in severe cases, bones being shifted out of place, which can change the shape of the joint itself. Dysfunction of the cartilage can disrupt the way a person moves, leading to pain in and stiffness of the joint. Osteoarthritis can be triggered by direct injuries, participation in demanding and repetitive activities regularly and other joint-related disorders, such as gout. It has a tendency to affect weight bearing joints, such as the hips, knees and the base of the thumb or big toe.
Although less common than osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can be equally as destructive to a patient’s quality of life. It has been categorised as an autoimmune disease, wherein the immune system attacks structures within the body as though they were similar to other threats, such as viruses, bacteria, foreign bodies and cancer cells. Often labelled as inflammatory or autoimmune arthritis, it can affect multiple joints in the body, causing damage to them instead of repairing them. Starting off with the synovial membrane or outer covering of the joint becoming inflamed, build up of inflammation can eventually become problematic for any tendons and ligaments attached to its related bones. The condition can be triggered by infections and has been known to spread to other tissues and organs in the body. Research has shown that rheumatoid arthritis is more common in smokers and that, by quitting the habit, a person could prevent the disorder from developing later on in life.
For more about the effects of smoking, check out our previous post at: Hijama and Smoking
Some joints seem to be more prone to arthritis than others, such as those in the hands, spine, knees and hips. Symptoms of the condition include:
- Pain, stiffness and tenderness of the affected joint, especially early in the morning
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Mild temperatures and sweating at night
- Inflammation or swelling in and around the joint tissues
- Warmth and redness of the skin over the joint
- Tiredness and generally feeling unwell
- Weakness and wasting of the muscular structures located around the joint
Hijama can effectively treat a variety of health issues and arthritis just happens to be one of them. In terms of treating osteoarthritis, cups placed on the joint in question could direct an individual’s blood flow to the crumbling cartilage, aiding in cell repair, and could drain away any inflammation intruding upon the body’s natural healing process. Where rheumatoid arthritis is concerned, by treating the systemic points at the base of a patient’s neck and behind their lungs, a practitioner could improve the function of their immune system and slowly cure it of its self-destructive response against the joints, organs and other bodily tissues.
For more about the immune response, check out our previous post at: Hijama and Inflammation
With the inflammatory response under control and any lingering inflammatory agents manually removed from the body, the pain, tenderness, warmth and redness should start to recede from the joint area. In addition to that, massage cupping the affected muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint could strengthen them if they have become weak, restore any cells that have been killed, increase mobility and reduce the stiffness of the joint involved.
We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.
Thank you for reading!
The Pure Therapy Team