What Can Cause Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint that can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain.  Did you know that there are 100s of different types of arthritis?  The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis among people.  It is the “wear and tear” that happens when your joints are overused.  Age usually is the contributing factor for this type of arthritis but joint injuries or obesity can put extra stress on your joints.

This type of arthritis affects the joints that bear weight – your knees, hips, feet and spine – are the most common places it affects.  This type of arthritis is often occurs gradually over months or years.  Your affected joint will cause you pain but it won’t make you sick or have fatigue like some of the other types of arthritis do.

Osteoarthritis causes you to lose your body’s “shock absorber” – the cartilage, which is the slippery material that covers the ends of the bones.  Overtime the cartilage breaks down.

The damaged cartilage causes painful movement.  You may hear a grating sound when the roughened cartilage on the surface of the bones rubs together.  You may even get painful spurs or bumps on the end of the bones, especially on fingers and feet.

Some symptoms of this type of arthritis are: deep, aching pain, trouble doing everyday things, gripping things, bending over, squatting, or climbing stairs – depending on which joint is involved; morning stiffness, pain when walking and stiffness after resting.  Your joint may be warm to the touch, swollen and harder to move and/or unable to move through a full range of motion.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that means your immune system attacks parts of the body, especially the joints.  This leads to inflammation and causes severe joint damage if you don’t treat it.

Doctors do not know what causes rheumatoid arthritis but it is believed that the immune system becomes “confused” after an infection with a bacteria or virus and starts to attack your joints.

Symptoms can come on gradually or start suddenly.  More often they are more severe than with osteoarthritis.

Pain and stiffness along with swelling can occur in your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaw and neck.  Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects multiple joints.

Unfortunately the swelling in the joint does not go away.  You will experience stiffness and possibly fatigue.  Rheumatoid arthritis can affect other organs including your heart, lungs and eyes.


If you suffer from arthritis it is important that you maintain healthy and strong muscles, joint mobility, flexibility, endurance and control weight.  Rest helps decrease active joint inflammation, pain and fatigue.  You need to have a good balance between the two: rest more during active phases of arthritis and more exercise during remission.  This doesn’t mean not to move during flare ups rather put your joints gently through their full range motion once a day.

Your chiropractor can help you plan an exercise program that will help restore the lost range of motion to your joints, improve your flexibility and endurance, and increase your muscle tone and strength.

Doctors of chiropractic can also give you nutrition and supplementation advice that can be helpful in controlling and reducing your joint inflammation.