Something New to Help with Arthritis



By Kerry Knight

Photo Credit: destinchiropractor.com
Arthritis refers to “joint inflammation.”  It can cause pain and swelling in the joints, such as the hip and knees.  Osteoarthritis is the most common form.  It’s also known as “degenerative joint disease” or age-related arthritis, and is more likely to develop as we get older. 


Osteoarthritis develops when inflammation or injury to a joint causes a breakdown of cartilage tissue.  The breakdown causes swelling, resulting in pain, and then deformity. 

Cartilage is a firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in normal joints.  It is primarily made up of water and proteins.  The primary function of cartilage is to reduce friction in the joints and serve as a “shock absorber.”  The shock absorbing quality of normal cartilage comes from its ability to change shape when compressed.  It can do this because of its high water content.  Although cartilage may undergo some repair when damaged, the body does not grow new cartilage after an injury.

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The changes associated with osteoarthritis usually occur slowly over many years.  There are two main types: 

Primary – More generalized;  affecting the fingers, thumbs, spine, hips, and knees.
Secondary – Osteoarthritis that occurs after an injury or inflammation in a joint, or as a result of another condition that may affect the composition of the cartilage.

People who have osteoarthritis of their hips sometimes have problems walking.  Diagnosis can be difficult at first. That's because the pain can manifest itself in different locations, including in the groin area, the front and back of the thighs, buttocks, or knees.  The pain can be stabbing and sharp, or it can be a dull ache, and the hip is often stiff.

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The causes of osteoarthritis of the hip are not fully known.  Factors that may contribute include joint injury,   In addition, osteoarthritis can sometimes be caused by other factors such as having joints that are irregularly formed, genetic defects of one’s cartilage, and a person may be putting extra stress on their joints, either by being overweight, or through excessive, repetitive exercise.   
increasing age, and being overweight.

Symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of osteoarthritis:

  • Joint stiffness that occurs while getting out of bed
  • Joint stiffness after sitting for long periods of time
  • Any pain, swelling, or tenderness in the joints
  • A sound or feeling (“crunching”) of bone rubbing against bone
  • Inability to move the hip (or other affected joints) to perform routine activities such as putting on your shoes

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There is no single test for diagnosing osteoarthritis, but it is often diagnosed by an abnormal X-rays that shows characteristic features, such as narrowing of the joint and spurring of the joint margins.  Check with your doctor.  He or she will no doubt check your medical history and perform certain physical examinations. An X-ray or MRI may also be ordered of the affected joint(s).

Osteoarthritis can seriously impair the quality of life for the 27 million Americans afflicted with it.  Given that osteoarthritis is so disabling, painful and common, there lots of quack “cures” out there such as taking shark cartilage supplements, to wearing specialized copper jewelry, and even ingesting snake venom.  Conversely, some of the more reliable modalities and methods of dealing with the issue:   

  • Chiropractic care
  • Electricity (such as TENS device)
  • Topical remedies
  • Chondroitin supplement
  • Glucosamine supplement
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss

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Another suggestion that might help tremendously in dealing with osteoarthritis would be warm water therapy, such as the type that can provided by soaking and gently moving your joints in a Walk-in Tub.  As we all know, hot springs have been utilized since the dawn of human history to deal with such maladies as arthritis.  It has never been totally convenient to enjoy warm water therapy until the introduction of a bath tub in general, and the Walk-in Tub in particular.   


These specialized bathtubs, introduced into America within the last 20 years, offer three major aids in dealing with arthritis:

Soaking in warm water.   
Because the human body is buoyant in water, immersing oneself in it takes the strain off the joints, muscles and tendons.  For a while, the negative effects of gravity are neutralized.  That's why a deep-soaking bath in warm water is so relaxing.  The pain seems to temporarily take a break.  The tub comes with an ADA-compliant, slip-resistant seat. You sit down, fill the tub to the chest level, and recline for a soothing and relaxing experience. 

Benefiting from the Air Jet Bubbler.
Photo Credit: foybs.com
On the top side of the tub are buttons that control the hydrotherapeutic air bubbles.  Inside the tub are are 18 air jets.  These create thousands of therapeutic bubbles that gently massage the skin from the shoulders to the toes.  All of the tub’s controls are within easy reach, including a hand-held shower wand with a four-foot metal braided hose for rinsing. 


“Aqua Massage” by its water jets and inline heater. Another button engages the water jets and the inline heater.  The water jets are designed to massage the body fully.  The jets are directional, so that they can target a specific part of the body and can be controlled as to their force and pressure. These six jets are located in the back area, and around the knees and hips.  The inline heater will make sure the water stays warm while the person is enjoying their bathing experience.   

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Over the last several months, I’ve personally noticed the onset of symptoms of osteoarthritis.  These include pinching pain in my hip joints, difficulty getting up and down after sitting for long periods of time, and bones that seem to grind a little.  I was told by my doctor after an X-ray that there was evidence of arthritis along my spine.  Aggravating the situation, I suffered a severe fall about 20 years ago.  It had dislocated my shoulder, and my doctor said that injury would come back to haunt me one day.  It has.  So aging and injury can bring us all to the point of seeking help for osteoarthritis. 

As my wife and I plan the building of our new home in Alabama where we intend to retire, we’ve already made arrangements for the inclusion of the Walk-in Tub.  I'm only 65, and in pretty good shape for my age, but know I’ll be more and more dependent on the Walk-in tub to make the quality of my life more enjoyable.  I highly recommend one for you, whether you need it now or in the near future.

In this article, I discussed the common disease of osetoarthritis. I mentioned the different types of arthritis and some of its main symptoms and also discussed the management and remedies that have been found to help alleviate its pain and disability, especially regular hydrotherapy sessions in a Walk-in tub. 

If you found this article interesting, please share and forward it to friends and family. If you’d like to leave a comment or question, please do so in the Comments section below. 

 
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Have a question?  Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed below and I’ll personally get back to you. Thanks for reading; it’s my pleasure to share this information with you. 

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Kerry Knight is a former co-owner of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida (now retired). He and his brother, Alan, have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running.  If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 843-4231 or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.


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