Whilst the excruciating pain of Arthritis doesn’t affect everyone; as we grow older, one of the many unpleasant facts that we have to accept is that many of us will experience the agonizing pain of this, often crippling, disease. There are a profusion of different types of Arthritis, but the two main types are Osteoarthritis, and Rheumatoidarthritis: with the former being the most common.
It is relatively rare for this disease to affect people before the age of forty, however, it is not unknown for it to do so; and, there have been some notable cases of it affecting people as young as those in their teens and twenties. Studies have shown that, in the population of some Northern European countries, by the time people reach the age of eighty, approximately eighty percent of them will suffer from one or another form of Arthritis. However, it is not all gloom and doom, because there are some very effective, and little known, ways that we can ease, or even overcome, the pain that comes with Arthritis.
Because, in addition to the conventional medical approach to Arthritis, there are people who swear by alternative, or complementary, medicines: simple natural treatments. As an example, the common Asian cooking spice Turmeric is hailed by many as an extremely effective Arthritis treatment. There is a substance in this spice named curcumin; and, it is believed, this is the substance which is the ‘active ingredient’ that may reduce swelling and help ease the dreadful pain of osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, it is an unpalatable fact that, as we grow older, our bodies start to show the effects of years of wear and tear; and, especially first thing in the morning, we begin to notice those aches and pains. This is a perfectly natural process that we all undergo; it’s an unwelcome fact that, as we age, our joints begin to feel as though they are not as mobile and supple as they used to be. Some men, over a certain age, are probably familiar with this unwelcome and, ‘wrong type’, of morning stiffness; and, we know that it just seems to take that bit longer for us to loosen up our limbs and to get ourselves going.
How our joints work
It is the joints in our human bodies that allow us to move freely; and to walk, jump, run, bend, straighten up; and, to twist our bodies so that we can carry on with our normal lives. We often don’t realise that we have so very many different joints in our bodies, for example; to name a few of them, in our necks, knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knuckles and fingers and toes, and we have many, many, more.
Our movable synovial joints have four elements, these are:
• Synovial membrane
• Articular cartilage
• Articular disc
1. The synovial membrane lines the capsule and produces, what is known as, synovial fluid: which lubricates the movement of the joint.
2. Articular cartilage, in our joints, is where the ends of two or more bones meet; and, the ends of these joint bones are covered with a layered coating of a tough pliant substance called cartilage. This cartilage acts as a sort of shock absorber, and helps the two ends of the bones in our joints to rotate and move smoothly across each other, when we kneel down, walk, or twist and turn our bodies
3. The articular disc is a plate or ring of fibro-cartilage, it is attached to the joint capsule and separates the articular surfaces of the bone ends for varying distances; or, sometimes completely. It acts as an adapter between two articular surfaces which don’t always entirely meet together.
4. The capsule is what surrounds the joint; and, it is a tough, fibrous sleeve, which stops our bones from moving, too much, away from the position they should be in. Sometimes the capsule differs in thickness, depending on the distance between the two surfaces of the ends of the bones.
Varieties of Joints
Some of the different varieties of Joints are termed fixed, movable, or ‘gliding’ joints; these are joints such as our wrists and ankles, which have flat surfaces and are only capable of less free movement.
Such as our elbows and knees, with these joints all movement can only take place around a single axis.
Ball and Socket Joints,
Such as those of our shoulders and hips, allow us relatively free movement in almost any direction.
This ends Part 1, of this two-part article, we will discuss more in-depth information about the pain of Arthritis, and some revolutionary new stem cell research, and suggested treatments, in Part 2.