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What is Arthritis?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Arthritis is a widespread health issue that causes pain and inflammation in joints, and affects millions of people of all ages in the UK. 

Different Types of Arthritis

It’s important to know that arthritis isn’t a specific disease, it’s actually a term that covers a group of joint-related problems. Some of these are: 

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type, often associated with wear and tear on joints.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks joints.

  • Gout: Gout is known for sudden and severe joint pain, often affecting the big toe.

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: This primarily affects the spine, causing pain and stiffness.

What Causes Arthritis?

As detailed above, there are many different types of arthritis, which means that there are also many different causes.

The two primary categories of arthritis typically have different causes: 

  • Inflammatory Arthritis: This type involves the immune system attacking the joints, causing inflammation and damage. 

  • Non-Inflammatory Arthritis: In this type, joint problems result from wear and tear, without significant inflammation.

In addition to this, genetics also plays a part in whether you’re more or less likely to develop arthritis, as some forms tend to run in families.

What Does Arthritis Feel Like?

Understanding how arthritis affects the body and what it feels like is crucial for those dealing with this condition.

Your symptoms will likely vary depending on the type of arthritis you have:

Joint Pain and Stiffness

  • One of the hallmark symptoms of arthritis is joint pain. It can vary from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain.

  • Stiffness in the affected joints is common, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Swelling and Inflammation

  • Many forms of arthritis involve joint inflammation, resulting in swelling, warmth, and redness around the affected joints.

  • This inflammation contributes to pain and can limit joint movement.

Reduced Range of Motion

  • Arthritis can lead to a decreased ability to move joints through their full range of motion.

  • As the condition progresses, joints may become increasingly rigid and less flexible.

Managing Your Arthritis

Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help to slow its progression and ease the severity of its symptoms. These include: 


  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.


  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): These drugs are primarily used for inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis to slow down the progression of the disease.

Physical Therapy and Exercise

  • Physical therapists can provide tailored exercises and techniques to improve joint function, reduce pain, and increase strength and flexibility.

  • Regular, low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, or cycling can help maintain joint mobility and overall health.

Lifestyle Changes and Self-Management

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can lessen the stress on weight-bearing joints like knees and hips.

  • Assistive devices such as braces or splints can provide support and reduce joint strain.

Surgical Interventions

In cases where conservative measures are not effective, surgical options such as joint replacement surgery may be considered to replace damaged joints with artificial ones.

Order Your Prescription Online with Healthera

If you’ve been prescribed medication to treat your arthritis, you can place your order online from your local pharmacy with Healthera.

It only takes a few minutes to set up your prescription for collection or home delivery. 

To get started, simply click the button below:

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