What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
According to the NHS , Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It is the 2nd most common form of arthritis after osteoarthritis.
While osteoarthritis is often a natural result of getting older, rheumatoid arthritis is an “autoimmune disease”, this means that your immune system – which usually fights infection – attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake, making them swollen, stiff and painful.
Over time, this can damage the joint itself, the cartilage and nearby bone. It’s not clear what triggers this problem with the immune system, although you are at an increased risk if you are a woman, you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, or you smoke. The hands, feet and wrists are commonly a ected, but it can also cause problems in other parts of the body.
There may be periods where symptoms become worse, known as a “flare-up” or a “flare” -flares can be difficult to predict, but with treatment it is possible to decrease the number of flares and minimise or prevent long-term damage to the joints.
The joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis is usually a throbbing and aching pain. It is often worse in the mornings and after a period of inactivity.
Joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis can feel stiff (E.G. if your hands are affected, you may not be able to fully bend your fingers or form a fist)
Like joint pain, the stiffness is often more severe in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Morning stiffness associated with another type of arthritis called osteoarthritis usually wears off within 30 minutes of getting up, but rheumatoid arthritis morning stiffness often lasts longer than this.
Swelling, warmth and redness
The lining of joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis become inflamed, which can cause the joints to swell, and become hot and tender to touch.
In some people, firm swellings called rheumatoid nodules can also develop under the skin around affected joints.
Locations of symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects small joints, such as those in the wrists, fingers, ankles, and toes; but can also affect the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and neck and usually causes pain or stiffness that lasts 30 minutes or longer, generally in the morning or after long rest or inactivity. It is bilateral which means it often occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body.
Research has shown that exercise is an essential tool in managing arthritis pain It reduces joint pain and stiffness, builds strong muscle around the joints, and increases flexibility and endurance. In the next post, I’ll explain to HOW Pilates can help Rheumatoid Arthritis
FYI, During December we’re running a promotion of Buy One (Class) Get One Free
– BOGOF –