The term Arthritis has its origins in the Greek words arthron (joint) and itis (inflammation). This type of joint condition involves chronic pain, inflammation and swelling. Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage, which normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when walking, dancing, exercising etc. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together causing pain, swelling (inflammation)and stiffness.
Joint inflammation can be the result of various reasons such as broken bones, infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses), an autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign), being overweight, repetitive use of affected joints putting stress on the joint t or even due to general "wear and tear" of joints.
Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed, the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared. However, with some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. When this happens, you have chronic arthritis.
Arthritis can occur in men and women of all ages. About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people.
Leading a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a proper nutritional diet go a long way toward restoring the general health of a person. It can also be beneficial for people suffering from joint conditions. But in cases where simple measures are insufficient medications remain the only cure. However, despite the variety of medicines available for arthritis, physical therapy (acupuncture, massage, Osteopathy etc) is widely accepted as a well known and trusted cure for arthritis.