The term arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, causing pain, stiffness and disability and is very common. It affects both adults and children and can cause chronic pain. but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. The warning signs that inflammation presents are redness, swelling, heat and pain.

The cartilage is a padding that absorbs stress. The proportion of cartilage damage and synovial inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Usually the pain early on is due to inflammation. In the later stages, when the cartilage is worn away, most of the pain comes from the mechanical friction of raw bones rubbing on each other.

There are 4 major categories of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus arthritis
  • Posttraumatic arthritis
  • Septic (infectious) arthritis


The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Also known as wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions and protects the ends of bones gradually wears away.

Osteoarthritis results from overuse, trauma, or the natural degeneration of cartilage that occurs with aging. There is a strong genetic component to osteoarthritis, but the genetics are complex and poorly understood. There is no single known osteoarthritis gene; the condition is likely due to a combination of many genes. Scientists call this type of genetics “multifactorial.”

Osteoarthritis is often more painful in joints that bear weight, such as the knee, hip, and spine. However, joints that are used extensively in work or sports, or joints that have been damaged by injury may also show signs of osteoarthritis.

In many cases, bone growths called spurs develop at the edges of osteoarthritic joints. The bone can become harder (sclerosis). The joint becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling. Continued use of the joint is painful.

Inflammatory arthritis

As the name implies, inflammatory arthritis results from an excessive inflammatory response inside a joint. It often is the result of an overactive immune system (autoimmune arthritis) but can also be caused by certain diseases (such as Lyme disease) or by the buildup of crystals in the joint (such as gout or psudogout). The most common cause of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that afects many parts of the body, but mainly the joints. The body’s immune system, which normally protects the body, begins to produce substances that attack the body. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining swells, invading surrounding tissues. Chemical substances are produced that attack and destroy the joint surface.

Rheumatoid arthritis may affect both large and small joints in the body and also the spine. Swelling, pain, and stiffness usually develop, even when the joint is not used. In some circumstances, juvenile arthritis may cause similar symptoms in children.

Lupus Arthritis

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects the blood and multiple organs, including the kidneys, skin, and heart. Lupus arthritis can be systemic and cause chronic pain in multiple joints.


The condition may be caused by hormonal imbalance, physical and emotional stress, infection, sever fright ,shock and injury. Hereditary factors may also be responsible for the onset of this disease.

However, there are many different causes of arthritis including:

  • Age and wear and tear on joints
  • Septic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Gout
  • Calcium pyrophosphate deposition
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

If your fingers feel stiff when you wake up in the morning or your knees ache after a walk, do you ever wonder why? It’s okay if you do, because we think about it all the time—you’re probably experiencing arthritis.

While it’s common for people around the world to write off mild joint pain and stiffness as temporary, if it remains an ongoing issue, you may have a more serious condition like arthritis. Let’s explore the most common causes of this disease—and some of the factors that may put you at high risk.


One of the most common causes of arthritis pain is inflammation, which occurs in response to ongoing tissue damage. Your body releases inflammatory chemicals, which alert the nerves that carry pain signals to your brain. This results in pain at the site of tissue damage. It might not be your ideal scenario, but pain is an important way for our bodies to alert us that something is wrong, so we can take action.

While the exact cause of arthritis is unknown, experts have identified certain risk factors that can lead to the development of arthritis. Genetics, unhealthy body weight, joint injury or overuse, and smoking are all factors that may put you at greater risk.

Cartilage Deterioration

While cartilage deterioration doesn’t sound like a fun topic to cover, it’s an important one. In the case of osteoarthritis (OA), we’re talking about a degenerative joint disease that often involves the hips, knees, neck, lower back, or small joints of the hands.

You are more likely to find OA in joints that are overused. For example, a baker may get OA in the hands, or a runner could get OA in the knees. It can also be caused by carrying around excess body weight, which can lead to muscle strain and extra stress on the joints.5 When the cartilage in any of your joints wears away enough, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain. In addition to being overweight or overusing particular joints, genetics may play a role in increased risk. That’s why we encourage you to lead a healthy lifestyle, so you can keep moving and experiencing joy.

Immune System Attack

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), your own body may act like your worst enemy. Your immune system releases enzymes that attack healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing painful swelling in the tissues and lining of the joints in those parts of your body.

This autoimmune inflammatory disease usually involves various joints in the fingers, toes, hips, wrists and knees. Risk factors include family history, smoking, obesity, age, and gender—women are more likely to develop this form of arthritis.

There’s no cure for RA yet, but there are treatments that can help slow the progression and relieve the pain. It’s important to stay proactive to control the signs and symptoms and prevent joint damage the best you can.

Reducing Pain

If what you’ve read above sounds familiar, your joint pain may indicate arthritis, so we encourage you to talk to your doctor about treatment options that may be right for you. When it comes to reducing pain, the best place to start is by taking care of your overall health. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and resting when you need it.


There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, symptoms vary according to the form of arthritis. Each form affects the body differently.

The symptoms of arthritis vary depending on the nature and severity of the underlying cause. Symptoms can include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • Restricted movement of the joints
  • Warmth and red skin over the affected joint
  • Weakness and muscle wasting around the joint


Diagnosing arthritis may be difficult. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Many symptoms are similar among the different conditions affecting the joints. Arthritis may be generally categorized into the following groups: degenerative arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, metabolic arthritis, and infectious arthritis. Osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis) is the most common type. Rheumatoid arthritis and gout are two other more common types. To make an accurate diagnosis, a healthcare provider may need to:

  • Review your medical history and current symptoms.
  • Physical examination
  • Order laboratory tests, X-rays, and other imaging tests (such as an ultrasound or MRI).
  • Perform an arthrocentesis (the procedure of removing fluid from a joint).


Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are several treatments that can help you manage your symptoms, including:

1. Medications

There are many different medications available to help treat arthritis. Of these, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly prescribed. These drugs work by reducing inflammation and pain in the joints. NSAIDs are available over the counter or by prescription and can be taken orally or applied topically to the skin.

2. Exercise

Another common treatment for arthritis is exercise. Exercise can help improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the joints. It can also help reduce pain and inflammation.

Some exercises beneficial for people with arthritis include walking, biking, swimming, and yoga.

3. Weight Loss

Obesity is a common risk factor for arthritis. Losing weight can reduce the stress on the joints and help improve the symptoms.

4. Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be recommended to improve mobility and function in the joints. This includes procedures such as joint replacement or arthroscopy.

5. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is also a common treatment for arthritis. It can help relieve joint pain and slow down the disease’s progression. To achieve these goals, physical therapists often combine different strategies, including massage and limb rehabilitation, that help you improve your flexibility, strength, and range of motion. They can also teach you exercises to help manage your symptoms, reduce pain and inflammation.