Arthritis Pain
Relief Experts

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, with millions of people effected every year. 23% of all adults, which is over 54 million people, report having arthritis. One out of four people with this condition report severe joint pain.

Arthritis Pain Relief Experts

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, with millions of people effected every year. 23% of all adults, which is over 54 million people, report having arthritis. One out of four people with this condition report severe joint pain.

What Is Arthritis?

The human body has many joints, which is the area where two different bones meet. The functions of our joints are to move the various body parts that are connected to the bones. Arthritis is a disorder of the joints that is characterized by joint inflammation. According to Medicine Net, the literal meaning of the word “arthritis” is inflammation of one or more joints. 

Most patients find that they start to notice the condition as minor aches and pains during physical activity, but over time the pain can become perpetual and occur even when the individual is in a state of rest. 

The most common symptoms that patients associate with this condition are joint stiffness, which tends to worsen with age, as well as stiffness in the early morning.

Joint pain, known as arthralgia, is commonly found in conjunction with inflammation in patients who have arthritis. Some of the most general types of arthritis are:

  • Polyarthritis: When four or more joints are involved
  • Oligoarthritis: When three or more joints are involved
  • Monoarthritis: When there is only a single joint involved

The generalizations mentioned above only account for a small portion of the over 100 identified types of arthritis. The most common forms of arthritis in the United States are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis refers to the wear and tear that happens to cartilage over time, and rheumatoid arthritis is the result of immune system dysfunction. 

Although osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types of arthritis, other examples of inflammatory types include ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. 

How Common Is Arthritis?

This condition is the most common cause of disability in the United States, with millions of people effected every year. According to the CDC, 23% of all adults, which is over 54 million people, report having arthritis. One out of four people with this condition report severe joint pain.

Every year, this condition accounts for close to 1 million hospital visits, and 45 million visits to health care centers. This is because frequent visits to the physician to help manage pain are very common.

Unfortunately, the symptoms make it difficult for individuals to remain active, which increases their overall risk for high cholesterol, obesity, and heart disease. Depression is also reported in many patients, which can be attributed to quality of life and fear of symptoms becoming worse over time. 

What Causes Arthritis Pain?

Depending on the form of arthritis, Health Line states that patients may have degraded cartilage tissue surrounding their joints. Cartilages job in the human body is to act as the connective tissue in the joints, and is strong and firm yet also flexible. This connective tissue protects the body’s joints through absorption of shock and pressure that is created when stress is put on the joints, such as physical exercise or everyday activities. 

This wear an tear on the cartilage surrounding the joints is what causes osteoarthritis (OA). In addition to normal wear and tear from everyday activities, an injury or infection can accelerate the natural breakdown of cartilage. If an individual has heart disease in their family history, the risk for this type of arthritis may be higher. 

Taking a look at rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the pain is not caused from wear and tear on the body, rather an autoimmune disorder. This is the result of the bodies immune system mistakenly attacking the tissue in the body, which effect the “synovium”, which is present in the joints and responsible for producing a lubricating and nourishing fluid essential for proper joint function. Unfortunately, it is not currently know what causes the attack on the immune system, but some genetic markers that increase a person’s risk of developing RA have been discovered.

The effect that RA has on the synovium will over time result in the destruction of the joints, and in some cases can affect the bone and cartilage.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If you believe that you have any form of arthritis, seeking medical advice from your doctor or primary care physician is an excellent first step. Your primary care provider will perform a physical examination, in which they will check for the presence of fluid around the joints, as well as potential limited range of motion in the affected areas. At South Pointe Healthcare, our medical clinic is integrated with a physical rehab practice, that has many effective techniques at treating different forms of arthritis. 

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, often times they may be referred to a rheumatologist, which is a doctor that specifically treats this type of arthritis. 

In addition to a physical examination to address symptoms of arthritis, blood tests may be ordered. These blood tests are used to find specific types of antibodies that are typically present in the bloodstream of individuals with arthritis. 

Some of the antibodies that patients are tested for include:

  • Anti-CCP: anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide
  • RF: rheumatoid factor
  • ANA: antinuclear antibody

In addition to blood testing, often times doctors will use imaging scanning, most commonly X-ray, CT scan, and MRI. These methods are used to rule out other possible conditions with similar symptoms, commonly bone spurs.

How Is Arthritis Treated?

The overarching goal of arthritis treatments is to improve patient’s quality of life and reduce the amount of pain that they are experiencing, while preventing additional joint damage. Every patients’ arthritic conditions require specific and unique care to find the best treatment methods.

At South Pointe Healthcare, we typically use a combination of different treatments to ensure that our patients have the best results. We have a dedicated in-house physical rehabilitation team of chiropractic experts that have helped improve the quality of life of many people with arthritis. Chiropractic care is an excellent non-pharmacological way to treat certain types of arthritis, depending on the individual’s preferences. When we use chiropractic methods to treat this condition, the main focus is to maximize the function of the arthritic joint. 

Although there is no cure for arthritis, a combination of medication, manual therapies, and physical therapy has shown to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life with patients who have varying forms of arthritis. 

In addition to in clinic treatment, patients will also learn how to control their pain at home, often incorporating heating pads and ice packs. Depending on the patient’s needs, mobility assistance devices such as walkers and canes are an excellent choice for taking pressure off of already inflamed joints. 

Medication Options

When a patient has osteoarthritis, treatment paths often utilize a combination of physical activity, weight loss (if the individual is overweight), medications and self-management techniques.

Looking at rheumatoid arthritis, these techniques may also be used, but in conjunction with specific anti-inflammatory medications.

According to Medical News Today data, the most common types of drugs used in treatment of arthritis are:

  • NSAID’s: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce pain and inflammation. Common generic brands that can be purchased over the counter include Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen and Aleve. Other types are topical such as patches and cremes which can be applied to specific areas of joint pain.
  • Analgesics: This class of medication only reduces pain and does not decrease inflammation. Examples of analgesics include: Percocet, Tylenol, Ulram, Oxycontin, and Vicodin,
  • DMRAD’s: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, to stop or slow the bodies immune system from attacking joints. Common examples are Planquenil and Trexall. 
  • Counterirritants: This type of medication includes ointments and creams that contain capsaicin or menthol. This ingredient can modulate pain signals and suppress pain felt in the joint when rubbed on the skin in an effected area. 
  • Corticosteroids: Cortisone and prednisone are known to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system response.
  • Biologics: Often used in conjunction with DMRAD’s, these are biologic response modifiers that target the precise protein molecules that are involved in the bodies immune response, which can be beneficial for RA patients. Common examples include Remicade and Enbrel.

FAQ's

Osteoarthritis of the knees is a common type that causes knee joint pain. Weight loss if overweight, and maintaining a healthy weight greatly reduce the chance of developing OA. In order to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it is important to eat a healthy diet with antioxidants including fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs which can aide in reducing inflammation. Fish, nuts, and turmeric have also been proven to be beneficial in reducing bodily inflammation. 

For people who have arthritis, making sure to avoid processed foods, fried foods, high amounts of meat, and lots of dairy will help mitigate inflammation of the joints. 

Provided that pain levels are tolerable, regular exercise is the best way to keep your joints flexible to maintain a healthy range of motion. Many people with arthritis find that swimming is an excellent physical activity that helps them stay active without putting pressure on the joints in the way that walking and running does. 

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