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Myths & Facts about Arthritis

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Clinical Directorate


Myths & Facts about Arthritis

Dr. Alok Kalyani
Consultant – Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology

MYTH: Arthritis is not treatable; medicines available are ineffective and toxic

FACT: Almost all inflammatory arthritis are treatable. Modern medicines are safe and non toxic but regular follow up is a must.

MYTH: Arthritis is treated only by an Orthopaedician

FACT: Arthritis should be treated only by trained rheumatologist. Orthopaedicians are trained to do surgery, but before that, medical management can prevent deformity and suggest the need of surgery. Rheumatologists are trained for medical management of arthritis. Only in last stage, surgery is required, which is done by an Orthopaedician.

MYTH: All types of arthritis are same

FACT: No, not all arthritis are same. Most common is osteoarthritis, also called as green arthritis. It may require only painkillers, exercises and life style modifications. The red inflammatory arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis may lead to serious deforming complications if not treated early and aggressively.

MYTH: Back pain requires pain killer and rest

FACT: Yes, it's true for 80% cases, but back pain which increases after rest, i.e. in morning, is not a gentle one, and this might be a typical case of Ankylosing Spondylitis. While back pain which is worse at night or persistent all time, may be sinister.

MYTH: Ayurveda and homeopathy can cure arthritis

FACT: There is no evidence. No clinical trial proved this. Dubious claims are seen in media, but clinical trial is lacking. 

MYTH: Yoga is beneficial for all type of arthritis

FACT: No, some yoga postures are good for particular type of arthritis, but some can even harm joints.

MYTH: Sitting cross legs and squatting positions are good for knees

FACT: No, recent studies confirm that these may actually harm knees. This is the reason, Indians have more knee problems than western population where people do not sit like this.

MYTH: Steroids are the only treatment for arthritis in modern medicine.

FACT: No, nowadays many safe medicines, DMARDs are available which can be used to treat arthritis in safe and effective ways with very less side effects.

MYTH: Walking is not good for knees

FACT: Walking is actually very good for knees, as walking not only improves muscle strength, reduce weight and sense of well being, but now it is proved that walking can regenerate cartilage of knee joints.

MYTH: I need to take medicines for a long time, why?

FACT: Arthritis is like diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid disorder or any other diseases where patients need to take medicines and remain healthy. Remember, only infections and certain types of cancers are curable by medicines while some diseases are cured by surgery. In rest of the conditions, long treatment is required.