5 Arthritis Myths Debunked

Arthritis wears away at your joints making every day activities extremely difficult. Nearly 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of the disease. Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, clears up the top misconceptions about the disease

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    arthritis pain

    MYTH: Arthritis sufferers have to live with pain FACT: People can take measures to alleviate arthritis pain. One strategy is to lose weight if you are carrying around excess pounds. Depending on the weight loss, it can take quite a bit of pressure off an arthritic knee or hip. Another recommendation is to avoid any activity, such as going up and down stairs, which may aggravate an arthritic knee or hip.  Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication can help. No one needs to live with constant pain. Joint replacement surgery is a tried and true way to eliminate arthritis pain once and for all.
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    senior citizens

    MYTH: Arthritis only affects the elderly FACT: About two-thirds of patients are under 65. In fact, increasing numbers of people in their 40s and 50s are feeling the aches and pains of the degenerative bone disease
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    rainy day

    MYTH: Cold, wet weather makes arthritis worse FACT: There is no scientific evidence supporting the theory that a particular climate is better for people with arthritis. If a warm climate helped or prevented arthritis, then people who lived in mild-climate states such as Arizona or Southern California would not have arthritis. Adults all over the country experience arthritis pain.  However, Westrich says inclement weather is associated with barometric pressure changes and this may affect people with arthritis. It does not make the condition worse per se, but it may cause a change in someone's level of pain.
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    MYTH: Arthroscopic surgery will relieve my arthritis FACT: Westrich says any doctor who says arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn cartilage or clean out a joint will relieve arthritis pain is doing a huge disservice to a patient. This type of minimally invasive surgery does nothing to relieve arthritis pain, according to Westrich.  Not only is it useless and unnecessary, but some patients are actually worse off because their joint becomes inflamed after surgery.
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    MYTH: If you have arthritis, you shouldn’t exercise FACT: Certain exercises, such as swimming or using the stationary bicycle can help relieve stiffness and alleviate pain. Physical therapy or an exercise program to strengthen muscles around the joint can also be very helpful.
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