There is little doubt
that rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common of all crippling,
long-term diseases. Although it usually affects the smaller joints
particularly those of the hands, wrists and feet - it can also be
present in the joints of the spine. However, the spine is usually
the last part of the body to be attacked and by then other joints
will probably be affected. The neck is usually the first part of the
spine to be involved.
The initial symptoms are usually pain, tenderness, swelling and
stiffness of the joints. These symptoms which can arrive quite suddenly
or which may develop slowly over a long period of time, are nearly
always worse first thing in the morning.
Many joints can get rheumatiod arthritis and sufferers who have
the disease badly may complain that their whole bodies hurt. The
pain and aching is often also accompanied by a general feeling of
tiredness, listlessness and of being run down. The symptoms of rheumatoid
arthritis are unusual in that they may sometimes disappear for months
or years almost completely without any warning - though, sadly,
they usually do come back again in the end.
The basic cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still a mystery. One
theory is that the disease is caused by a virus, another that it
is caused by a flaw in the body's own defence mechanism against
infection. It is also generally believed that stress in its many
different forms makes rheumatoid arthritis worse.
Further information can be found at:
Definition of degenerative arthritis and its treatment.