Many people suffer the aches and pains of damaged or inflamed joints. Some are just uncomfortable, and some become crippled as a result of a disease that has been recognized since prehistoric times but understood in only the past few decades. 

The term arthritis covers a group of more than 100 diseases that involve inflammation of joints and discomfort in connective tissues throughout the body. In many parts of the world, the disease is called rheumatism. The word 'arth' comes from the Greek word meaning joint, while 'tis' means inflammation or infection. Thus the word arthritis means inflammation or infection. 

Thus the word arthritis means inflammation of the joint. The problem is that in many kinds of arthritis the joint is not inflamed. A better description might be a problem with the joint.You probably have known many people who have had arthritis and heard their stories of pain, of various attempts at treatment, and perhaps of some relief. Arthritis is a frequent conversational topic because it affects so many of us. It is estimated that about one out of every seven people in America has arthritis in some form. People like to talk about arthritis because it is a very personal disease. 

It can be felt only by the person who has it, and often the symptoms can’t be seen by others. 

Each person responds to treatment in different ways. Yet in few other diseases is there such a ready exchange of information by sufferers of the disease. Listening to others may be a good pastime but will not necessarily help you control your disease. 

As you learn more about arthritis you will understand why following your health care team’s recommendations is important to obtaining relief and helping yourself to health. Your therapy programme will be individualized for you. 

The treatment that worked for your neighbour may not work for you, and vice versa.The best counsel one arthritis victim can give another is to obtain competent medical advice. Seek treatment when symptoms are detected. Treatment is effective when begun before symptoms become associated with the destruction of the joints.