Arthritis is a type of joint disorder mainly characterized by the inflammation of the joints. Our joints are the structures that connect two or more bones in the body. This connection allows the bones to move freely (along with their surrounding tissue and muscles). Joints are found in the hands, knees, hips and many other areas of the body. While the internal structure of joints varies throughout the body, most joints are made up of ligaments that bind the bones together and tissue or cartilage that serves to cover and cushion the ends of the bones.
Most of our Austin arthritis patients experience some form of asarthralgia, otherwise known as joint pain. Over 100 identified types of arthritis exist, and they’re mainly characterized by the degree of damage inflicted on the joints from any source.
The types of arthritis generally range from normal wear and tear inflicted on the cartridge of the bones to damage caused by conditions like an impaired immune system. Autoimmune diseases can trigger the production of antibodies that, rather than fighting off infections in the body, attack the body’s own tissues instead. Immune system cells that attack the tissue of the body’s joints can cause inflammation, swelling and pain. The resulting condition is often referred to as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Causes of Arthritis
As mentioned above, the causes of arthritis vary based on the type of damage inflicted on the joints.
The most common cause of arthritis is progressive wear and tear, which usually leads to osteoarthritis. Some types of arthritis form out of abnormalities in the metabolism, such as pseudo-gout and gout. Hereditary factors (genetics) can also be the cause of certain types of arthritis.
Some forms of arthritis are caused by an indirect or direct effect from a bacterial or viral infection within the body. Others develop arthritis if something happens to their immune system that impairs its normal functions.
The main symptoms of arthritis include pain in the joints, in addition to impairment of the joint’s normal function. Inflammation is also a very common symptom. Inflamed joints typically swell and feel tender, show redness, feel warm and are stiff to move.
Some forms of arthritis may cause symptoms that affect other parts of the body as well, including organs. These symptoms can include:
- Weight loss
- Gland swelling
- Symptoms relating to functionally impaired organs
Treatment for Arthritis
We customize treatment for all of our Austin arthritis patients based on their unique symptoms and the type of arthritis they’re exhibiting. An accurate diagnosis is essential to creating an effective treatment plan that successfully controls arthritis symptoms. Arthritis treatments typically include one or more of the following:
- Splinting (for the joints)
- Hot and cold compresses
- Pain medications
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Immune system medications
- Steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- For severe forms of arthritis, surgery may be necessary
Some forms of arthritis benefit from alternative treatments like paraffin wax dips and massage therapy. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have also been shown to help relieve some symptoms of the condition, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Arthritis Treatment in Austin
If you suffer from arthritis, then you know it can be a very painful and debilitating condition that can interfere with your quality of your life. Arthritis affects millions of people and is a common problem for many older people. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer and there are many effective treatments that can help you keep living a full, active life.
The key to effective arthritis treatment is developing a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs. At the Diagnostic Pain Center in Austin, we provide individualized arthritis pain management and treatment programs. Our providers offer a variety of advanced diagnostic procedures to effectively pinpoint the source of your pain and symptoms. Based on these findings, our team of medical professionals will develop a targeted treatment approach that takes your lifestyle and specific needs into consideration.