Manhattan Wellness Group
SPINE | JOINT | NECK | BACK
PAIN MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST
Pain Management . Chiropractic . Acupuncture . Physical Therapy . Massage Therapy
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in those who are overweight.
cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. It protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue cause some forms of arthritis.
Normal wear and tear causes OA, one of the most common forms of arthritis. An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.
Another common form of arthritis, RA, is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints.
The exact cause of the immune system’s attacks is unknown, but scientists have discovered genetic markers that increase your risk of developing RA tenfold.
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your range of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worst in the morning.
In the case of RA, you may feel tired or experience a loss of appetite due to the inflammation that immune system activity causes. You may also become anemic — meaning your red blood cell count decreases — or have a slight fever. Severe RA can cause joint deformity if left untreated.
Diagnosis of arthritis will start with your doctor performing a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will check for fluid around the joints, warm or red joints, and limited range of motion in the joints.
Extracting and analyzing inflammation levels in your blood and joint fluids can help your doctor determine what kind of arthritis you have.
There is no cure for arthritis. However, the right treatment can greatly reduce your symptoms. In addition to the treatments your doctor recommends, you can make a number of lifestyle changes that may help you manage your arthritis.
Regular exercise will keep your joints flexible. Swimming is often a good form of exercise for people with arthritis because it doesn’t put pressure on your joints the way running and walking do. Staying active is important, but you should also be sure to rest when you need to and avoid overexerting yourself.
Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight reduce the risk of developing OA, and can reduce symptoms if you already have it. Eating a healthy diet is important for weight loss. Eating foods with lots of antioxidants can help reduce inflammation.
You’ll learn what works best for you in terms of controlling pain. Some people find heating pads and ice packs to be soothing. Others use mobility assistance devices, like canes or walkers, to help take pressure off sore joints.
The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing and prevent additional damage to the joints. Improving your joint function is also important. Your doctor may prescribe you a combi
nation of treatment methods to achieve the best results. If your arthritis is most severe in your fingers or wrists, your doctor may perform a joint fusion. In this procedure, the ends of your bones are locked together until they heal and become one.Physical therapy involving exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint is a core component of arthritis treatment.
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