According to the CDC, over 23% of adults have arthritis, and like other common diseases and health conditions, there’s a lot of misconceptions about it.
Let’s look at some of the most common arthritis myths and separate fact from fiction.
1. Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.
Studies comparing the incidence of hand arthritis in habitual knuckle-crackers and non-knuckle crackers show that the habit likely doesn’t cause arthritis.
But you may want to stop cracking your knuckles anyhow because studies show that habitual knuckle cracking can lead to lost grip strength and injuries.
2. Arthritis isn’t preventable.
Both your parents having arthritis is not a guarantee that you will. Though your genetic makeup does increase or decrease your chances, lifestyle choices factor in, too.
Consistently high levels of stress and bad habits, such as smoking, excess body weight, and lack of exercise, increase your risk of developing arthritis.
3. Only older people get arthritis.
Though the risk of arthritis increases sharply after age 45, younger adults and children can develop the disease, too. Injuries, especially repeated injuries, increase the risk of arthritis at all ages.
For instance, when someone suffers repeated knee injuries, cartilage which acts as padding around the knee joint, wears down, leading to osteoarthritis.
4. Exercise makes arthritis worse.
The misconception is that exercise wears out the joints and increases the risk of arthritis.
However, the truth is that exercise can reduce arthritis pain and slow its progression. Safe, productive exercise builds up the muscles around the joints and increases flexibility and range of motion.
5. Certain diets can ease arthritis symptoms.
This is only true for people with celiac disease and lactose intolerance. Otherwise, there is no scientific evidence that any diet improves arthritis symptoms.
6. Joint pain means arthritis.
If you have joint pain, you may have arthritis, and you may not. Other common conditions that cause joint pain, such as bursitis, tendonitis, or soft-tissue injuries, may be causing the pain.
These conditions and injuries cause swelling and pain in the structures around the joints, mimicking joint pain caused by arthritis.
7. Joint replacement surgery is the only effective arthritis treatment.
Many people with arthritis don’t ever need joint replacement surgery.
Though osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are progressive diseases, treatment, especially treatment in the early stages, can effectively reduce or eliminate pain and slow degeneration.
Arthritis Pain Treatment at Texas Pain Physicians
If you are in pain from arthritis, we can help. Our board-certified pain specialists treat the full spectrum of arthritis pain with well-established and advanced interventional pain treatments.
Please give us a call or book your appointment online.