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What is arthritis?

Basically all arthritis means is an inflamed joint. “Arthro” means joint. “Itis” is inflammation. Usually the symptoms of arthritis are pain and joint stiffness. It usually starts out mild, first thing in the morning when people get up, they kind of have to limber up and then it gets a little bit better as the day goes on. If they're up too much, it bothers them again. As time goes by, it gets a little bit worse and worse. Ultimately as it progresses, people end up with deformities.

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints in one or more places within the body. The most common type of arthritis—osteoarthritis—can affect most joints in the body but typically causes pain in the spine, hands, knees, feet and shoulders. Osteoarthritis occurs in almost everyone as they age; it is rare to see people in their 80s who are not affected to some degree.

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

Arthritis is the wear and tear of the cartilage that lines the end of your bones. Normally, cartilage is smooth, glistening and white, and two cartilage-covered bones moving across one another in our joints are virtually frictionless. In fact, they are smoother than ice. When the cartilage begins to wear down, like potholes in a road, the surface loses its smooth finish. This is when the stiffness and aching set in.

Arthritis is a condition characterized by pain, warmth and/or swelling of one or more joints. These symptoms are referred to as inflammation. There are multiple types and causes of arthritis, and any form of joint inflammation should be evaluated by your physician.

Dr. Kathleen Hall
Preventive Medicine Specialist

Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. The word "arthritis" means joint inflammation. Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is sometimes called degenerative joint disease because the cartilage in the body breaks down, or degenerates, with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long lasting disease that affects joints in any part of the body. The immune system causes the joint lining to swell and inflammation spreads to surrounding tissue in rheumatoid arthritis. These can be very painful conditions that are relentless and disabling. Most health-care professionals recommend many practices as steps to reduce the risk of developing the disease and to slow or prevent permanent joint damage.

A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness

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A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness

Nautilus Book Awards Winners for 2007 (category: Self-Help/Psychology/ Personal Growth) "Like many people, Kathleen Hall found that despite great success and material wealth, she had yet to identify...
Dr. Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

The word "arthritis" comes from the Greek word arthro, meaning "joint" and itis, meaning "inflammation." Thus, it would seem that arthritis is a set of conditions in which a joint is inflamed. However, as tends to happen with broad medical terms, the word has been used and misused in so many ways that it is now used to refer to just about any joint problem (particularly a chronic one) in which inflammation, pain and/or stiffness is involved.

The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.