What is Arthritis?

May 17, 2018 | Arthritis

Understanding Your Pain and How to Address It

In terms of application, arthritis is a wide-ranging diagnosis that can be applied to over 100 different diseases. But in its most practical sense, it can be described as a general inflammation of the joints, and it’s the most common chronic condition in the United States.

As a general rule, arthritis arises when the bones in your joints – your knees, elbows, shoulders, or any location where bones connect – rub together more than they should. Traditionally associated with people over the age of 65, anyone can develop this condition, as it depends upon age your genetics, biology, lifestyle, and environmental situation.

It can initially manifest itself in a variety of symptoms throughout your body:

  • Joint Pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain with movement
  • Pain with weight bearing
  • Limited range of motion

Because arthritis progresses with time meaning it is degenerative in nature and gets slowly worse with time – you should speak with your doctor if you begin to experience any of those symptoms. This becomes especially important as you advance in age, as the sooner you can begin treatment for your diagnosis, the less likely you will become permanently incapacitated by it.

Leading Types of Arthritis

The two most prevalent versions of arthritis, with each having its own specific set of symptoms, pains, and treatments, are:

  1. osteoarthritis
  2. rheumatoid arthritis

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage between the joints in your bones slowly starts disappearing from too much friction. With rheumatoid arthritis, the connective lining around your joints becomes inflamed.

What is osteoarthritis?

As the most common form of the disease, osteoarthritis becomes more likely as you advance in age, typically due to of the standard “wear and tear” of life. If the loss of cartilage you experience is left untreated, it will break down entirely, leaving the bones in your jones to rub against each other directly. Not only will this cause day-to-day pain, but it could affect your long-term mobility.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Technically, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder. In this type of auto-immune disorder, the immune system attacks the synovial membrane, which encloses all your joint parts. Without early and aggressive treatments, this disease could eventually destroy the entire joint including the cartilage within the joint. Furthermore, it can also impact your nervous, circulatory, and respiratory systems, along with your skin.

How Can a Doctor Tell if I Have Arthritis?

As we mentioned earlier, if you feel you possess any of the initial symptoms of this condition, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. A physical exam of your joints and detailed medical history are part of the diagnosis process, and you’ll probably be recommended x-rays to confirm the diagnosis and grade the severity.

Understanding and receiving the correct diagnosis is crucial as it informs the course of your treatment, up to and including surgery. Our goal would be to detect and treat your condition before it progresses too far.

Can Arthritis be Treated?

At times, arthritis can feel like an inconvenient side effect of growing old more than a real problem you need to address. However, if you experience pain in your joints on a regular basis – no matter how mild – you should seek treatment for this condition.

We can recommend a variety of treatments for osteoarthritis. This could include the following:

  • Moderating your daily activity
  • Achieving a healthy weight
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Attending physical therapy
  • Creating a regimen of heating pads and/or ice packs
  • Taking the right over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
  • Using mobility assistance devices like a special arthritis Unloader Brace
  • Receiving Viscosupplementation injections to your knee that provide more cushioning
  • Steroid injections in the joints
  • Regenerative Medicine procedures including PRP, Amniotic Tissue Fluid and Stem Cells
  • Radiofrequency Ablation of the Genicular Nerve

That being said, it’s important to understand that there is no formal cure for arthritis in any of its forms. All treatments revolve around a combination of alleviating pain, managing symptoms, and ensuring that your joints experience as little additional damage as possible.

Thus, this diagnosis shouldn’t feel like a hindrance, but obtaining the right diagnosis for your arthritis is the best start for alleviating the pain and its related side effects – and the earlier the better. If you think you might be experiencing arthritis, schedule your risk free appointment with Arthritis Relief Center Texas today!


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