Arthritis, which means “joint inflammation,” is a term used for a group of more than 100 medical conditions that collectively affect nearly 46 million adults (1 in 5 adults) and 300,000 children in America. These are the three most common types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease of the joint cartilage and bone, often thought to result from “wear and tear” on a joint, although there are other causes such as congenital defects, trauma and metabolic disorders. Joints appear larger, are stiff and painful and usually feel worse the more they are used throughout the day.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks itself. The pattern of joints affected is usually symmetrical, involves the hands and other joints and is worse in the morning. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a systemic disease, involving other body organs, whereas osteoarthritis is limited to the joints.
Fibromyalgia is a common rheumatic syndrome indicating widespread pain in fibrous tissues, muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues, resulting in painful muscles without weakness. The cause of this disorder is unknown, although it is a chronic problem that can come and go for years. The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is longstanding, body-wide pain with defined tender points.