What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that is characterized by inflammation of one or more joints, and in late stages, arthritis can be crippling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of adults 65 and older have been diagnosed by a physician as suffering from arthritis. As of yet, no cure for arthritis exists, however, there are medications, procedures, and treatments that can alleviate some of the pain caused by this disease.
What causes arthritis?
- Normal wear and tear of cartilage
- An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue
- Family history of the disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Obesity causing additional stress to weight-being joints
Common types of arthritis
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage. Enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement.
This type of arthritis is not caused by deterioration, but an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its own tissues, which will cause the deterioration common to arthritic disorders.
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your signs and symptoms may include:
- Decreased range of motion
The first line of treatment for most forms of arthritis includes non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen. These medications can alleviate chronic inflammation and pain that is associated with arthritis.
Consistent exercise is also advisable, as movement helps keep the joints flexible and moving more fluidly. Walking, yoga and water aerobics are among the best for those who suffer from arthritis, as these activities are low-impact.
Physical therapy treatment
A skilled physical therapist can help devise an exercise and stretching regimen specific to your abilities and pain level.
Corticosteroid joint injections can reduce inflammation and pain in the joint. Your physician may recommend an arthritis therapy consisting of a series of joint injections to improve your range of motion and quality of life.
Medial branch blocks
A medial branch block effectively reduces inflammation and irritation in the joints of the spine, and often, relief from pain is immediate.
In severe cases, the only relief a patient may be offered is through full joint replacement.
The first line of treatment for most forms of arthritis includes non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen.