Friday, February 23, 2024

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Chronic Pain Handbook: Arthritis

Arthritis pain may be one of the most well known and easily understood by the public in terms to either experiencing this themselves or knowing someone who does. Arthritis is a condition that impacts more than 23% of the population of the United States, according to the CDC. With such a huge percentage of the population, you would think this would be easy for us to address, but pain is always unique to the individual.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is marked by one of more joints experiencing swelling or tenderness for a sustained period of time. There are several types of arthritis but there are two that are most common. The first is the most common, osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage, which cushions the joint space between bones, is broken down from joint injury, infection, age, or repetitive wear and tear. Leading to bone rubbing against bone, this break down of cartilage contributes to pain and swelling in that joint. The second type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. The mayo clinic states, “the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all joint parts.” This leads to the swelling and inflammation, but can also lead to the destruction of the cartilage and the bone itself.

What are the symptoms?

There are a number of symptoms, with varying degrees of how they will impact an individual. Pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and a decreased range of motion are symptoms that usually point a doctor or medical professional to provide a diagnosis of arthritis. These symptoms may increase over time and may be in a localized area, especially in regards to osteoarthritis caused by repetitive movements, or in several joints through the body. 

What are other considerations?

You have an increased likelihood of developing arthritis in certain fields, like those in assembly line work, although all professions can contribute if ergonomics aren’t considered. Additionally, there is a tendency for members of the same family to develop arthritis over time. Women are also more likely to experience arthritis, as are those who carry additional weight because of the strain placed on joints.

What are treatments?

Over the counter pain relief can help in regards to arthritis, but are less likely to help with the inflammation many experience. Some of our patients experience relief from physical therapy or the help of a brace of sorts during actions that use those joints effected. We may also recommend yoga or massage therapy to help with range of movement or to provide extra blood flow to specific areas. Botox has also shown promising results in some patients. Non-medical treatment may include weight loss and a progressive exercise regiment to help increase the health of a patient. Certain patients may benefit from looking at assistive technology or ergonomics to reduce the strain on their joints at work. 


If you are experiencing ongoing issues with arthritis or if you are newly diagnosed with the condition, come see our medical staff today. We have a wide variety of resources and a number of solutions to help provide you with the relief you need. Contact our clinic today to set an appointment to help you.




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