CBD Benefits for Fast Arthritis & Chronic Pain Relief
CBD is already being considered as an effective treatment option for pain from arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that may cause severe pain and discomfort due to joint degeneration, swelling, and inflammation. A 2017 study published in the US Pain Journal found that local administration of CBD prevented pain from osteoarthritis. Application of transdermal CBD also prevented pain and nerve damage from later developing in osteoarthritis affected joints. This study suggests that CBD may be a safe treatment option for those suffering from neuropathic pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Another found that topical CBD application possesses “therapeutic potential” for providing relief from pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, without apparent side-effects. This research is exciting because traditional treatments for arthritis often induce undesirable side-effects.
Arthritis Pain Relief
Arthritis is a classification of disease-causing joint pain and joint degeneration and does not merely refer to one disease. There are currently over 100 forms of arthritis, including similar conditions. In the U.S., arthritis is the leading cause of disability, and over 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffer from some form of arthritis. Arthritis affects women and older adults more frequently than other demographics but can occur in anyone regardless of age, sex, or race.
The most commonly reported symptoms of arthritis are swelling, pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion. The degree of symptoms can range from mild to severe. It’s not uncommon for symptoms to progressively get worse as time goes on. Arthritis typically results in chronic pain, which can be debilitating by preventing the ability to complete daily tasks such as walking or carrying a dinner plate.
Arthritis can induce permanent physiological changes to affected joints, which can be seen on an X-ray. There are also forms of arthritis that affect peripheral organs such as the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin, instead of strictly joints.
Types of Arthritis
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA). OA occurs when the cartilage deteriorates, causing bones to rub directly against each other, resulting in pain, inflammation, and stiffness. As time goes by, OA affected joins begin degrading further, causing severe pain that may become chronic. The risk of OA depends on several factors, including weight, genetics, age, and previous injury, such as a tear.
Joint replacement surgery may be necessary if at-home treatments aren’t effective at achieving adequate pain relief. To prevent the onset of osteoarthritis, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid repetitive or straining movements.
Inflammatory and Autoimmune Arthritis
Inflammation is a normal immune response to infection and injury with the goal of removal and prevention of disease. However, the immune system can become dysfunctional and begin attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, which can result in joint degradation and organ damage. The most common forms of inflammatory arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, and gout. This autoimmune response is believed to be contributed by several factors, including genetics and environmental triggers. Cigarette smoke is considered an environmental risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis in genetically susceptible individuals.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that may cause severe inflammation in the joints and potentially throughout the entire body. RA frequently affects more than the joints and can damage organs such as the eyes, kidneys, lungs, and several other organs.
Rheumatoid arthritis directly damages the lining of the joints instead of the cartilage between bones, causing swelling, severe pain, inflammation, and progressive bone and joint deterioration. RA is classified as an autoimmune disorder, which means the immune system begins attacking its own healthy cells. Today there are several pharmaceuticals to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but there is no known cure, and RA often causes physical disability.
Rheumatoid arthritis typically comes and goes with common reports of the disorder flaring up then going dormant. The severity of RA symptoms ranges from mild to severe and frequently involve swelling, pain, and inflammation. Without active intervention, RA can cause progressive bone and joint deformity.
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops in some individuals with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition that produces red patches with surface silver scales. Typically, psoriatic arthritis is a later diagnosis that develops when someone already has psoriasis. However, joint inflammation may occur before psoriasis patches show up.
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are swelling, pain, and stiffness of the joints. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint of the body from the fingertips to the toes and varies in severity. Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis symptoms appear as flare-ups and then disappear as alternating periods.
Psoriatic arthritis requires an immediate diagnosis to begin preventing the bones and joints from degrading over time. There is no known cure for psoriatic arthritis, but there are some treatments available to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent further joint damage from occurring.
When uric acid excessively accumulates in the body, needle-like crystals are formed on a joint, causing an episode of severe pain affected the joint, known as gout. Uric acid is produced by breaking down purines, the building blocks of DNA found in human cells, and a variety of foods. Gout occurs when a person creates an excess of uric acid, or their body cannot remove it fast enough.
Gout can occur unexpectedly, frequently causing an abrupt awakening in the night by creating a severe episode of pain in the big toe. Gout affected joints will appear red and swollen and feel incredibly tender to the touch. Gout often induces periodic episodes, and unless active measures are taken to reduce uric acid concentration, it can become chronic. Chronic pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
Doctors use one or more medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to achieve remission in those affected by inflammatory and autoimmune arthritis. These drugs may help achieve pain relief, increased joint function, and prevention of further joint deterioration. There isn’t a known cure for inflammatory arthritis, so symptom relief is best achieved by preventing the disease from progressively degrading the affected joints.
Infectious arthritis conditions result from either a bacteria, virus, or fungus entering the joint and causing inflammation. This category usually refers to septic arthritis. Consuming food contaminated with salmonella or shigella can create a joint infection. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can also induce infectious arthritis. Sharing needles may cause arthritis due to a blood infection from hepatitis C. A course of antibiotics may effectively treat the joint for infection, but there’s a chance that arthritis may become chronic.
Septic arthritis is a type of arthritis that causes pain and inflammation in a joint due to infection. The cause of infection can vary dramatically, as discussed above. Septic arthritis can occur after an injury exposes the joint to certain germs, leading to infection of the joint.
Infants and elderly adults are the most susceptible to developing septic arthritis. The most common affected joints are the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and fingers, but can affect any joint in the body. The infection can rapidly destroy the cartilage and bone inside the joint, making the immediate treatment necessary to prevent permanent bone and joint deformity.
Doctors treat septic arthritis by draining joint fluid with a needle, but surgery may be required depending on the joint and severity of the infection. Antibiotics are typically taken to kill off the bacteria, causing the infection.
Arthritis requires early diagnosis and prompt medical intervention to prevent the affected joints from becoming further deteriorated. A primary care physician will perform a physical examination and may decide to complete blood work and order X-rays to diagnose the specific form of arthritis. A doctor may refer someone to a rheumatologist who specializes in arthritis if the diagnosis isn’t confident or if it’s suspected that the arthritis is inflammatory. A rheumatologist should be able to provide an accurate diagnosis if the symptoms are caused by arthritis. An arthritis specialist will discuss treatment options in the event of a diagnosis of RA, gout, or a different type of arthritis. Other medical specialists may become involved in treatment if a diagnosis of reactive arthritis is reached. Reactive arthritis occurs when a joint becomes inflamed due to an infection affecting a separate part of the body.
Arthritis Pain Relief Treatment & Medications
There is no known cure for arthritis. However, there are several treatment options that can help prevent further joint degradation, increase joint mobility, and improve the overall quality of life. When the symptoms of arthritis are mild or moderate some at-home pain management techniques are:
- Ensuring adequate rest after exercise or strain
- Applying hot and cold therapies (water, ice packs, and heating bags)
- Engaging in exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Strengthening the muscles around the joint (weight lifting, stretches, specific exercises)
- Using assistive devices (braces)
- Consuming over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs
- Avoiding excessive repetitive movements (take short breaks periodically)
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