Arthritis Q & A
What is arthritis?
Arthritis affects your joints, causing chronic pain, inflammation, and stiffness. There are many different forms of arthritis – more than 100, in fact – but they all cause similar symptoms.
The type of arthritis that affects most people is osteoarthritis, with rheumatoid arthritis as the second most common.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that mainly affects older people because it’s the result of years of wear-and-tear on your joints. Each of the bones in your joints has a protective substance covering it, called cartilage.
Over time, cartilage can wear down, eventually exposing the bone beneath. The inflammation that leads to joint pain develops when the exposed bones start to catch and rub on one another.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
The pain from arthritis is a distinctive, throbbing ache radiating out from the affected joint. Your pain is likely to get worse at certain times, typically during wet, cold weather, when you’re feeling particularly stressed, and when you overexert yourself or do any kind of activity that’s different from your normal routine.
Arthritis pain can become agonizingly intense during a flare-up and leave you barely able to move. Between flare-ups, you might be functioning almost normally, but never without at least a background aching in your joints.
As arthritis worsens, your joints are likely to become increasingly stiff, while getting progressively weaker. This combination can start to make it hard to get up and down from your chair, kneeling becomes something to avoid, and eventually, joints can even begin to seize up.
As well as being stiff, your joints can swell and might start to twist out of shape.
What treatments are there for arthritis?
Treatment for your arthritis might depend to some extent on the type of arthritis you have. For example, DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) can be effective in treating inflammatory types of arthritis like RA but will not help if you have osteoarthritis.
The Oklahoma Pain Physicians team creates a personalized treatment plan for your arthritis, which could include:
Menthol or capsaicin cream
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Hyaluronic acid injections
Biologic response modifiers
It’s also important to help yourself by making changes like losing weight and quitting smoking, if applicable, or following a diet high in anti-inflammatory food, which can have positive benefits in relieving arthritis.
If you have arthritis, call Oklahoma Pain Physicians today or request an appointment online.