Joint Pain and Arthritis
What is Arthritis?
The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation.” Arthritis is inflammation in and around the body’s joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. The most common symptom of arthritis is joint pain, and this is the reason people seek medical care for their arthritis. .
Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis, stemming from normal wear and tear of life. An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints. RA is a disease of the synovium that will invade and destroy a joint. It can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint.
What causes Arthritis?
Although the exact causes of arthritis might not be known, there are several risk factors. A risk factor is a something that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease or condition. Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Age — the risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, increases with age.
- Gender — In general, arthritis occurs more often in women than in men.
- Weight — being overweight puts extra stress on the joints that support a person’s weight. This increases wear and tear, and the risk of arthritis.
- Work factors — Jobs in which the worker has to keep doing the same movements over and over, or does a great deal of heavy lifting, can cause stress in the joints and/or an injury, which can lead to arthritis.
How is Arthritis treated?
Unfortunately arthritis cannot be reversed. There is no cure for arthritis, but symptoms can be effectively managed with lifestyle changes, physical and other therapies, medications, and injections.
Exercising and achieving a healthy weight are generally the most important ways to treat osteoarthritis.
Lifestyle treatments for Arthritis
Many people can help control their arthritis symptoms with basic lifestyle changes. Talk to Dr. Anden about whether these options may be right for you.
Exercise can play a major role in reducing the pain that comes with arthritis. An active lifestyle can help you:
- maintain healthy joints
- relieve stiffness
- reduce pain and fatigue
- increase muscle and bone strength
Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on joints. Weight loss can help with the pain of arthritis. It may also reduce systemic inflammation.
Cold and heat
Both cold and heat can help treat arthritis symptoms. Applying ice to an area for 20 minutes can help to reduce fluid in the tissue and decrease swelling. You can repeat the treatment two or three times a day. You can do the same 20-minute treatment pattern with a heating pad.
Osteoarthritis symptoms, primarily pain, may be helped by certain medications, including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Medical treatments for Arthritis
These injections reduce inflammation which decreases swelling and pain in arthritic joints.
A physical therapist can help you develop an exercise regimen suited to your needs.
- improve muscle strength
- increase the range of motion of stiff joints
- reduce pain
Surgery for Arthritis
Severe cases of Osteoarthritis may require surgery to replace or repair damaged joints. There are several types of surgery used to treat OA. Please discuss with your doctor to determine if you are a candidate.
Dr. Corey Anden is a Board certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician who has been practicing for more than 10 years. She specializes in diagnosing and treating pain using a customized approach. She typically starts with non-invasive treatments like physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises before turning to spinal procedures.
5825 Harrison Blvd
Ogden, UT 84403
P: (801) 732-5914
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