Live long enough and you can pretty much count on developing arthritis: a touch of osteoarthritis at the very least.
Arthritis ["arth" meaning joint, "itis" meaning inflammation] isn't a one-note story or even a few variations on a single theme: it actually consists of more than 100 different conditions. These can be anything from relatively mild forms of tendonitis (as in tennis elbow) and bursitis to crippling systemic forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. There are pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and arthritis-related disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, that involve every part of the body. There are forms of the disease, such as gout that almost nobody connects with arthritis. The common denominator for all these conditions is joint and musculoskeletal pain which is why they are grouped together as arthritis. Often that pain is a result of inflammation of the joint lining.
Inflammation is involved in many forms of arthritis. It is the body's natural response to injury. The warning signs that inflammation is present are redness, swelling, heat and pain. These are some kinds of reactions the body has to a sliver in the hand, for example. When a joint becomes inflamed, it may get any or all of these symptoms. This can prevent the normal use of the joint and, therefore, it can cause the loss of function of that joint.
So when we deal with patients who are suffering from arthritis, whatever form of it they are afflicted with, we usually must do more than provide them with adjustments to resolve their difficulties. We address the inflammation. We address the muscle weaknesses and shortenings that have set in. We hope that our patients have come in before something has become longstanding. The sooner we can start our work, the sooner they can feel better.