What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a very common condition, causing pain and inflammation in the joints. It affects more than 10 million people of all ages in the UK, although is more common as people get older. There are various different forms of arthritis, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis, which first affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, and rheumatoid arthritis, which first affects the outer covering of the joint.


What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Symptoms of arthritis vary widely and the severity and occurrence of symptoms will depend on the type of arthritis that a person has. That’s why it’s always vital to get an accurate diagnosis, to make sure that the patient receives the right treatment.

Nonetheless, there are some early symptoms that most forms of arthritis share, such as:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • Inflammation in and around the joints
  • Restricted movement of the joints
  • Warm red skin over the affected joint
  • Weakness and muscle wasting

Further symptoms will likely occur alongside these symptoms, depending on the form of arthritis. Symptoms will also probably wax and wane as time goes on. Arthritis symptoms can worsen according to the temperature, level of activity, stress, and a range of other environmental factors.


What causes arthritis?

Essentially, arthritis is caused by the wearing down of cartilage around the joints. This can come about through simple wear and tear, which is most common in older people. Circumstances that can speed up or increase the risk of worn-down cartilage include:

  • An infection or injury to the joints
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Autoimmune disorders

What treatment options are available for arthritis?

Once again, treatment options will largely depend on the form of arthritis. For the two major types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, there are specific types of treatment designed to treat each condition’s unique symptoms.

Treatment options for osteoarthritis include:

  • Lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
  • Medication, such as paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, capsaicin cream, and steroid injections
  • Supportive therapies to help make everyday activities easier, such as hot and cold packs, manual therapy, and assistive devices
  • Surgery, such as joint replacement or joint fusing

Treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • Biological treatments, such as etanercept and infliximab
  • JAK inhibitors
  • Painkillers
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Steroids
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Surgery

Even within these two major types of arthritis, the exact treatment will often depend on the severity of the condition and any external factors, such as other existing conditions, age, and overall health of the patients. All treatment decisions should be made in conjunction with a doctor’s advice.


How can medical cannabis help with arthritis?

Where traditional treatments can be lacking, medical cannabis can often provide welcome relief. There have been various studies completed that indicate a positive correlation between medical cannabis and arthritis. For example, this American study from 2018 showed that cannabinoids have been seen to improve symptoms for those suffering from osteoarthritis, with marked improvements in quality of life.

In addition, a more recent study from 2019 showed that cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties that could also reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Raising awareness about how medical cannabis can be used alongside traditional treatment to help people with arthritis feel more comfortable is vital.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private care for our patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors. They are there to guide you through the treatment options available from the clinic and find a plan that works for your and your needs.

Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary. Appointments start from only £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to guide you through your treatment options.

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