STOP ARTHRITIS PAIN

Arthritis is inflammation in a joint. Osteoarthritis, which is also known as degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis, is the most common kind of arthritis. It is more likely to develop as people age.

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more likely to develop as people age. The changes in osteoarthritis usually occur slowly over many years, though there are occasional exceptions. Inflammation and injury to the joint cause a breaking down of cartilage tissues, resulting in pain, swelling, and deformity of the joint.

There are two main types of osteoarthritis:

  • Primary: more generalized osteoarthritis that affects the fingers, thumbs, spine, hips, and knees
  • Secondary: osteoarthritis that occurs after injury, such as repetitive or sports-related injury, or inflammation in a joint

Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Primary generalized osteoarthritis affects women more than men, often occurring shortly after menopause. Most people with primary osteoarthritis have other family members who are affected by the same problem, and usually have swelling and or pain of the finger joints, base of the thumbs, and knees or hips. Secondary osteoarthritis may occur in a joint that was previously injured from trauma, or after the joint has been damaged by some other cause, such as infection or rheumatoid arthritis.

Although the exact mechanisms of cartilage loss and bone changes are unknown, great advancements have been made in recent years. It is likely that complex signaling processes during joint inflammation – and defective repair mechanisms in response to injury – gradually wear down cartilage within the joints. Other changes cause the joint to lose mobility and function, resulting in joint pain with activity.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain. Affected joints might hurt during or after movement.
  • Stiffness. Joint stiffness might be most noticeable upon awakening or after being inactive.
  • Tenderness. Your joint might feel tender when you apply light pressure to or near it.
  • Loss of flexibility. You might not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
  • Grating sensation. You might feel a grating sensation when you use the joint, and you might hear popping or crackling.
  • Bone spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, can form around the affected joint.
  • Swelling. This might be caused by soft tissue inflammation around the joint.

Home treatment

Medications that can help relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, primarily pain, include:

  • Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) has been shown to help some people with osteoarthritis who have mild to moderate pain. Taking more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, others), taken at the recommended doses, typically relieve osteoarthritis pain. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription.

    NSAIDs can cause stomach upset, cardiovascular problems, bleeding problems, and liver and kidney damage. NSAIDs as gels, applied to the skin over the affected joint, have fewer side effects and may relieve pain just as well.

Procedures for Joint Pain?

If conservative treatments don’t help, you may want to consider procedures such as:

  • Cortisone injections. Injections of corticosteroid medications may relieve pain in your joint. During this procedure your doctor numbs the area around your joint, then places a needle into the space within your joint and injects medication. The number of cortisone injections you can receive each year is generally limited to three or four injections, because the medication can worsen joint damage over time.
  • Lubrication injections. Injections of hyaluronic acid may offer pain relief by providing some cushioning in your knee, though some research suggests these injections offer no more relief than a placebo. Hyaluronic acid is similar to a component normally found in your joint fluid.
  • Realigning bones. If osteoarthritis has damaged one side of your knee more than the other, an osteotomy might be helpful. In a knee osteotomy, a surgeon cuts across the bone either above or below the knee, and then removes or adds a wedge of bone. This shifts your body weight away from the worn-out part of your knee.
  • Joint replacement. In joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty), your surgeon removes your damaged joint surfaces and replaces them with plastic and metal parts. Surgical risks include infections and blood clots. Artificial joints can wear out or come loose and may need to eventually be replaced.

Pain Management Procedures

Contact our Chandler pain management clinic for more information.

Call to schedule an appointment: 480-820-7246 (PAIN)