It’s in Your Hands, Take Action

World Arthritis Day is celebrated around the world on October 12th each year. This theme for World Arthritis Day 2016 is “It’s in Your Hands, Take Action”. Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) affect over 120 million people. That includes more individuals than any other disease group.

RMDs are often classified into inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Non-inflammatory RMDs include osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, degenerative spine diseases and fibromyalgia. Inflammatory RMDs consist of rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing, connective tissue diseases and polymyalgia rheumatic.

Symptoms of RMDs include joint swelling, stiffness, redness and/or warmth. Tenderness, extreme fatigue, restricted range of movement, joint deformity, depression and anxiety are also signs of RMDs.

Scott Appell, M.D., head of Grandview Medical Center’s Advanced Joint Care Program, suggests exercise and muscle strengthening for maintaining joint function. “The use of low impact exercise seems to work best and water based therapies are usually well tolerated. Initially working with a trained therapist greatly improves our patients’ results as they better understand the importance of proper joint function.”

Regular physical activity is important for pain relief, yet those suffering from arthritis are less likely to be physically active than those without arthritis. Although relief comes with movement, many cannot withstand the pain associated with normal daily activities. Treating RMDs with physical activity is different for each patient depending on the disease, which joints are affected and the level of damage to the joint. Exercises that are often used for treatment include walking, yoga, cycling, dancing, swimming and water aerobics.

People with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases are taking action every day to live their lives to the fullest. If you have been affected by an RMD help us spread awareness by sharing your story on World Arthritis Day’s website.