Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than 100 painful joint conditions. What most people refer to when they talk about arthritis is osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis is a degenerative condition where the cartilage that lines your joints, providing cushioning and friction reduction, wears away.
When the cartilage wears away, the ends of your bones rub together, causing inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, but it most often occurs in the:
The three leading causes of arthritis are:
If your parents or grandparents had arthritis, your chances of developing the disease are higher.
Being overweight increases the pressure on your joints, particularly in your back, hips, and knees, which can cause the cartilage to wear away more quickly than a person of average weight.
Repetitive use can also cause arthritis. Whether you have a job or a hobby that requires repetitive motions, using the same motion over and over again can wear away the cushioning tissues in your joints.
Joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Other common symptoms include:
Each patient’s symptoms range in severity depending on the extent of their arthritis and activity levels. They might also accumulate over time rather than appear all at once.
Dr. Rajan provides treatment customized to address your specific needs and concerns. Treatment is typically multi-pronged to offer pain relief and take measures to reduce your other symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory medications -- including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids -- reduce the swelling in your joints, which can reduce pain. Analgesics also provide pain relief by limiting the prostaglandin chemicals produced in response to tissue damage.
While it may sound counterintuitive, regular exercise helps keep the muscles around your joints strong and supple, making movement less painful. It also helps you lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight, which reduces pressure on your joints and arthritis symptoms.
Dr. Rajan might combine these treatments with other modalities like physical therapy, application of heat and cold, and assistance devices like canes. In cases where these noninvasive methods aren’t effective, Dr. Rajan suggests undergoing surgery to repair or replace your joints.
If you’re experiencing arthritis or joint pain, call or schedule an appointment online today to find relief.