Free Arthritis and Back Pain Handouts
About the Back and Back Problems – The lower part of the back holds most of the body’s weight. Even a minor problem with the bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in this area can cause pain when a person stands, bends, or moves around. Less often, a problem with a disc can pinch or irritate a nerve from the spinal cord, causing pain that runs down the leg, below the knee called sciatica. If you have a low back problem, you may have symptoms that include: • Pain or discomfort in the lower part of the back. • Pain or numbness that moves down the leg (sciatica).
Assess Your Joint Status – What’s Your Risk?
1) Are you 45 years of age or older?
2) Have you ever had an injury to your knee severe enough to put you in bed; to force you to use a cane, crutch or brace; or to require surgery?
3) Are you more than 10 pounds overweight?
4) Have you in the past, or do you currently, participate in greater than 3 hours per day of heavy physical activities, such as bending, lifting, or carrying items?
5) Did you have hip problems that caused you to limp as a child?
Arthritis and Physical Activity – The leading cause of disability. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States (1). Encompassing more than 100 diseases and conditions, it affects joints, soft tissues, connective tissues and sometimes – vital organs. Data now indicate that the numbers of adults impacted by this disease are higher than ever. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a state-by- state arthritis survey. The results indicate that 1 in 3 U.S. adults have arthritis compared to previous estimates of 1 in 6 (2, 3).
Diet and Your Arthritis – Can the foods you eat cause or affect your arthritis? That’s one of the most common questions people with arthritis ask. Because symptoms of arthritis can vary from day to day, it is natural to think that what you ate yesterday caused or reduced the pain you feel today. Researchers have looked at the roles diet may play in arthritis. There are some scientific reasons to think that the foods you eat could affect certain kinds of arthritis. Evidence shows that excessive weight and the type of diet you follow may influence symptoms of certain types of arthritis and related conditions.
Managing Your Arthritis Pain – Dealing with pain can be the hardest part of having arthritis or a related condition, but you can learn to manage it and its impact on your life. Causes of Pain: Arthritis pain is caused by several factors, such as: • Inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints; • Damage to joint tissues, which results from the disease process or from stress, injury or pressure on the joints; • Fatigue that results from the disease process, which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle; • Depression or stress, which results from limited movement or no longer doing activities you enjoy.
Types of Arthritis and Related Rheumatic Diseases – There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases characterized by inflammation (signs are redness and/or heat, swelling, and pain) and loss of function of one or more connecting structures of the body. Others are known as autoimmune diseases because they occur when the immune system, which normally protects the body from infection and disease, harms the body’s own healthy tissues.