19 Mar Overview of Arthritis Treatment at a Maryland Pain Management Center
Arthritis is not a single disease; rather, there are many forms of arthritis, which are common. Arthritis is a condition that has never been fully understood. What we do understand is arthritis is a disease involving pain of the joints. With there being over one hundred different types of arthritis, and related conditions, people of all ages, races, and sexes have or will have arthritis. Arthritis is the leading disability cause in America, and women have it more frequently than men. Arthritis affects most all people as they get older.
Is arthritis common?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the estimated annual arthritis prevalence in the American adult population is 22.7%, or around 54.4 million. There is a significantly higher age-adjusted occurrence for women (23.5%) compared to men (18%).
What structures of the body are affected by arthritis?
Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes which may be visible. Most notice it in the finger joints, which can appear swollen or puffy. Most common joint symptoms are swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and pain. The symptoms come and go and can range from mild to moderate and even severe at times. Arthritis can also affect the eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, and skin. It may remain stationary for years, and then suddenly worsen over time. With bad cases, daily activities can be a chore, as walking and climbing can become very difficult.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
As mentioned, there are several types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common type. Many times, when the cartilage the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of the bones) wears away, bone rubs against bone. This friction leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness, which will occur in one or more joints. In addition, joints may lose strength over time causing a chronic pain.
What causes arthritis?
A few causes and risk factors of arthritis include:
- Extra weight that puts a strain on the joints.
- Aging – Wear and tear with age can work on the joints.
- Family history – Arthritis has been linked to genetics.
- Old injuries – Anterior cruciate ligament tearing or injury.
What are the types of arthritis?
There are many types of arthritis. Common kinds include:
- Infectious arthritis- Inflammation of the joint from a bacterium, virus, or fungus will cause stiffness, swelling, and pain. This occurs from organisms such as salmonella, and Shigella (food poisoning or contamination). Sexually transmitted diseases as well as hepatitis C may cause and trigger inflammation.
- Inflammatory arthritis- The immune system can get confused and mistakenly attack the joints uncontrollably, which causes inflammation and joint erosion. This erosion may lead to damage to the eyes, internal organs, and more. Psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis are two example of inflammatory arthritis. Researchers think that genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmune arthritis. Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for inflammatory arthritis, as well as genetic predisposition. Most healthy immune systems will protect against arthritis by generating internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent the disease.
- Metabolic arthritis- This form of arthritis is caused by uric acid. This happens when the body breaks down purines, which is a substance found in human cells and in many foods. Some people produce high levels of uric acid, and their body can’t rid itself from the substance, leading to uric acid build-up. The build-up creates tiny crystal-like spikes in the joints and terrible pain (gout attacks). Gout comes and goes, and if uric acid isn’t reduced, the condition can become chronic.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
A doctor usually performs a physical exam including blood tests and imaging scans to better diagnose the type of arthritis. An arthritis specialist (rheumatologist) may be involved if the diagnosis is difficult, or if the arthritis is inflammatory.
How is arthritis treated?
There are many ways to help reduce arthritis inflammation and pain. Treatment involves:
- Keeping activities and rest in a balance.
- Hot and cold therapies, as administered by a physical therapist.
- Strengthening the joint muscles for added support.
- Regular physical activity and exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy weight, which could involve weight loss.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Joint replacement, which is done when joint pain affects daily life and quality of life.
All Star Pain Management offers comprehensive pain management with Dr. Zamfirov, who is a Double Board Certified pain physician. Effective pain treatment is offered at two locations including Annapolis and Glen Burnie Maryland. Most insurance is accepted, call today for top nonoperative pain relief!
Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring MA, Brady TJ. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013—2015. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017 March 7. [Epub ahead of print].
Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA. Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68(7):1582-7. doi: 10.1002/art.39692. PubMed PMID: 27015600.