There are over 100 types of arthritis and pain can be reduced in every one of them when you work with a leading pain management clinic.Peak Health and Wellness providers and Alex J. Nelson, MD have been helping those with arthritis live fuller lives for years. Treating your pain begins with a correct diagnosis and understanding exactly what arthritis is.
Arthritis pain is caused by inflamed joints, and this can include anything from one joint to several of them. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, or OA, and rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. In most cases, the pain associated with arthritis gets worse over time, but in some types of arthritis it can be acute and sudden. Most arthritic patients are over the age of 65, but unfortunately younger and younger patients are presenting with arthritic symptoms. Women tend to have arthritis more often than men, and those who are overweight are also particularly at risk.
Get to Know Your Arthritis
The most common signs of arthritis include stiffness and joint pain. You might also notice a decreased range of motion, and skin at the affected area might be red. A lot of patients with arthritis will say the pain is worse in the morning. If you have RA, you might notice a loss in appetite or feel tired regularly. Anemia is a common co-morbidity of RA, and sometimes a slight fever accompanies this type of arthritis. If RA is untreated, joint deformity can occur.
Since RA is an autoimmune disease that’s caused when the body attacks certain tissues, there are no preventative measures for RA. If left untreated, RA can destroy the joint tissue and bone. Nobody knows exactly what causes RA, but treatments for the pain and to slow down degeneration are available.
Some types of arthritis happen because the cartilage that connects the tissue wears down over time. This wear and tear can lead to OA, and can be caused by daily activities like texting or typing. However, trauma can cause or speed up OA, and there’s also a genetic component to this type of arthritis.
Help with Arthritis
The right diagnosis is paramount to a successful treatment. Sometimes a physical exam is all that’s needed to diagnose arthritis. Other times, a blood analysis for certain antibodies is necessary. You might benefit from an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI to see the current state of your cartilage and bones, and these studies can help rule out competing diagnoses like bone spurs.
In very mild cases of arthritis, heating pads or ice packs can be effective. Some patients benefit from mobility devices like walkers to help alleviate the pressure put on joints. A series of exercises to keep the joints healthy and active are often recommended along with pain management.
In most traditional clinics, pain medication is the most popular treatment for arthritis. However, a lot of patients understandably want to reduce or avoid their dependency on lifelong medications. Other options are available, such as joint injections. We offer a wide range of injections to immediately alleviate pain caused by arthritis, with results lasting from weeks to years.
Epidurals are a type of steroid that are proven to be helpful in treating various types of arthritis. Orthovisc/viscosupplementation can help with OA in the knee and other joints when patients haven’t responded well to more conservative approaches. It involves a gel rich with natural proteins being injected into the joint to reduce inflammation.
Alternative Pain Management Treatments
There are also lifestyle changes you can make, and your doctor can recommend the best approach for you. In some cases, losing weight can help because it reduces joint stress. A diet full of antioxidants can help naturally reduce inflammation in the body, and you can find them in fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables as well as nuts. Avoiding processed foods, dairy, and a meat-rich diet is also important to keep inflammation in check.
A good exercise regimen like swimming, which keeps you active but without a lot of joint stress, is critical to arthritis management. Arthritis has no cure, but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce pain and reclaim your life. To learn more about arthritis treatment options, call Peak Health and Wellness at (801) 689-3389.