What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is known as the swelling and inflammation of joints. There are many types of arthritis, however the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Each type of arthritis damages joints in different ways. In some cases, arthritis will affect the surrounding tissue of a damaged joint as well.
This type of arthritis is due to wear and tear. It is known as the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the hands, spine, hips, and knees; however, it can also occur in other joints in the body as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
This arthritis type is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can attack multiple joints at once which occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes your healthy cells for harmful cells.
Inflammation due to RA can cause tissue damage, however, if treatment is initiated rapidly, further damage can be prevented.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are:
- Decreased range of motion
- Joint changes
Many health concerns accumulate with age, including arthritis. As we age, our bones become more fragile and the cartilage in our joints deteriorate, resulting in inflammation.
When joints are subjected to excessive weight, due to obesity this can lead to inflammation and erosion of your joints. Weight bearing joints such as the knees and hips most commonly prematurely deteriorate due to excessive weight.
Diets consisting of primarily inflammatory foods can be detrimental for joints. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids has been proven in some studies to decrease inflammation in the body.
Injuries that can cause joint damage can then lead to osteoarthritis. Traumatic damage will weaken the affected cartilage which can cause it to break down. The breaking down of the joint cartilage from damage is what then often may lead to arthritis.
Jobs that require excessive heavy lifting or repetitive stress on the joints may increase the likelihood of developing arthritis.
Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis may cause joint damage. Genes play a large role in developing an autoimmune disease, but developing research indicates that environmental factors influence these diseases processes as well.
Treatments and Prevention
Even though arthritis can be considered a serious disease, there are treatment options that are available. Once a patient has received a diagnosis, we will create an individualized treatment plan to best serve their specific needs.
Performing an Assessment
In order to provide our patients with accurate diagnoses, we perform comprehensive exams to properly diagnose arthritis before creating a treatment plan. The following can be used to diagnose arthritis:
- Physical examination
- Blood tests
- CT Scan
The following are possible treatment options for osteoarthritis
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Physical and occupational therapy can benefit patients with arthritis. Physical therapy programs are designed to improve mobility and strength. Occupational therapy is used to teach patients how to complete their daily activities and adapt to challenges due to arthritis to improve their independence and quality of life.
Medication or Joint Injections
In some instances, medication can be an appropriate option for reducing pain and managing inflammation. NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories) and painkillers such as acetaminophen or oral or injected corticosteroids as well as antirheumatic drugs are some medications used to lessen arthritis pain.
For some patients, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can be used to replace, resurface, or repair any joints that are damaged. There are many types of surgery used to repair damage due to arthritis. Some of the most common are joint replacements, arthroscopies, joint resurfacing procedures, and joint fusions.
Joint replacement procedures are most performed on the knees and hips and can involve a total replacement of damaged joints. Joint fusions use hardware to fuse bones together. Arthroscopic procedures aim to repair damaged tissue and cartilage and can sometimes eliminate the need for a total joint replacement. Joint resurfacing involves placing an implant to create a smooth surface with the intention of reducing pain.
At Modern Pain and Spine we harness the power of your body’s own repair mechanisms to decrease pain due to arthritis with PRP derived from blood and stem cells derived from the bone marrow.
At Modern Pain and Spine we focus on preventive methods to lower the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Tips to Lower the Risk of Developing OA
- Strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints with regular exercise
- Maintain good posture. This can reduce the strain on muscles and joints.
- Consume a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
- AVOID SMOKING to prevent inflammation in the body that may contribute to the development of arthritis.
- Maintain a healthy weight as increased weight can cause premature joint damage.
At Modern Pain and Spine, we are experienced in diagnosing and treating arthritis. Schedule an appointment today if you would like a consultation.