On March 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new data on the prevalence of arthritis in the USA. More than 54 million adults (23%) in the USA report arthritis diagnosed by a doctor, and almost 60% are of working age (18–64 years old). 24 million adults with arthritis report that the disease limits their daily activities, which represents an increase of about 20% since 2002. Most have osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia are other common diagnoses in the report.
The burden of arthritis goes well beyond pain, stiffness, swelling, and restricted movement of a joint. Difficulties in lifting a grocery bag, walking to the car, holding a cup, and bending or kneeling are common. Comorbidity with heart disease, diabetes, or obesity is particularly high, leading to further restrictions in activity for many, and a downward spiral of ill health. Work becomes impossible for many with severe arthritis, and mental health disorders are common, with a third of those aged 45 years or more with arthritis also reporting anxiety or depression.
Poor management is common, with many arthritis sufferers prescribed opioids, contributing to the opioid misuse epidemic in the USA. Safer, effective, disease-specific options exist. Pain, fear of pain, and lack of knowledge about what exercise is safe all limit activity. Regular physical activity can reduce pain and improve function in some patients, while recognizing that a quarter of all patients with arthritis have severe joint pain, and some are almost immobile.
Health providers can do more for patients with arthritis by encouraging self-management and appropriate physical activities, while adhering to best prescribing practices. Primary prevention opportunities in most types of arthritis are few in many cases, but diet, weight management, diabetes prevention and control, and maintenance of cardiovascular health can all contribute to arthritis symptom management and improve overall health.
(Taken from The Lancet Volume 389, Issue 10074, p1076, 18 March 2017)
Patients do not want to be on prescription pain medication or have major joint replacement procedures to handle join pain. At the Institute for Progressive Medicine, we regularly see patients respond exceptionally well to prolozone therapy and regenerative medical techniques. Sometimes their chronic pain is resolved completely. These treatments combined with the lifestyle modifications mentioned in the above excerpt work wonders for patients. They no longer require drugs or surgery to handle their pain.
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