Arthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in the U.S., with more than 50 million Americans suffering from some form of inflammatory disease. However, despite how common arthritis is, there are several misconceptions and myths that can make it confusing for patients seeking relief from their symptoms and improvement in their quality of life.
As an orthopedic oncologist in Los Angeles, Daniel C. Allison, MD, FACS has extensive training and expertise in both preventing joint degeneration and arthritis treatment. With more than 100 types of joint diseases, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, it is essential to work with a joint specialist who can dispel any myths associated with the disease and create a comprehensive treatment plan to give you the relief you deserve.
Myths about arthritis can widely vary from who’s most likely to develop the disease to cures using household spices. Let’s set the record straight about arthritis treatment and debunk some long-held myths.
The 5 Most Common Myths About Joint Degeneration and Arthritis Treatment
1. Arthritis is an Old Person’s Disease
Probably the biggest myth about joint disease is that it only affects older people. While it’s true that two-thirds of the people diagnosed with some form of joint disease are over the age of 65, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it currently affects 1 in 250 children too.
With over 100 different types of joint disease, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout or virus-caused arthritis, these conditions can affect people anywhere between the ages of 1 to 90 (and above).
2. There’s Nothing I Can Do to Improve My Symptoms
Depending on the type of joint disease you are diagnosed with, it can profoundly impact your life; from the ability to perform weight-bearing exercises to using your hands for tasks like sewing. Another big myth is that there is nothing that can be done to improve your symptoms and you just have to endure them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While there currently isn’t a cure, there is a lot that can be done by working with an arthritis expert to improve your long-term outcomes. Certain medications in addition to lifestyle changes, like doing approved exercises and maintaining a healthy diet and weight are all tools that can reduce arthritis symptoms such as pain and inflammation.
3. I Shouldn’t Exercise
It may seem counter-intuitive to exercise when you’re feeling pain or experiencing inflammation, but inactivity can cause an arthritis sufferer’s joints to continue to deteriorate while increasing both pain and swelling. However, with the right type of exercise, it’s possible to strengthen the muscles around the joints, which helps them better endure long-term wear and tear.
Low-impact exercises that work safely with range of motion, like yoga or Tai-Chi, are great options for people with joint pain and degeneration. Not only will exercise help keep your joints healthy, you will also be able to better maintain range of motion and functional movement.
4. My Diet Doesn’t Affect My Joint Inflammation
While it’s true that a healthy diet can’t cure arthritis, what you eat can definitely impact your symptoms. For example, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be beneficial for joint pain sufferers. A study performed by University of Maryland Medical Center found that foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids like fish, such as salmon, tuna, and particular nut oils are beneficial in reducing inflammation and may lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. What’s more, maintaining a healthy weight will help decrease the negative impact on your joints, keeping them healthy longer.
It should be noted that the idea that cooking with certain spices like ginger and turmeric can be an effective arthritis treatment is a myth. It is true that these spices can help reduce inflammation but they aren’t a cure.
5. Certain Habits Cause Arthritis
There is a long-held belief by many people that habits like cracking your knuckles will eventually cause arthritis. There is no scientific evidence that this is true. Most types of arthritis are caused by either genetics, injury or trauma, infection, and immune system dysfunction such as with rheumatoid arthritis. Although it is recommended to avoid cracking the knuckles because this type of repetitive popping of the joints can accelerate joint damage in patients that have been diagnosed with arthritis.
With so many different types of joint diseases and myths surrounding them, if you’re experiencing pain or inflammation, the first step towards getting relief is scheduling an evaluation with a Los Angeles joint specialist to diagnose what type of degeneration you may be suffering from and the best course of arthritis treatment.
Read more about inflammatory joint disorders at WebMD.com.
Contact a Joint Expert in Los Angeles Today
If you are experiencing joint pain or inflammation, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today to schedule a consultation for an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive arthritis treatment plan. With the use of cutting-edge, modern arthritis treatments, Dr. Allison and his team can customize treatment plans to your specific diagnosis and needs with the goal of helping you maintain your quality of life.