Arthritis is a painful joint condition in which the protective tissue covering your bone, called cartilage, breaks down. About one in four adults in the US suffer from arthritis, accounting for about 58 million people. Fortunately, there are many treatments available for arthritis. However, choosing the right treatment is critical for better pain management.
Let’s talk about arthritis, its causes, treatments available, how to determine which treatment is right for you, and more importantly, where you can go in Central Florida for world-class orthopedic care.
What Is Arthritis?
As mentioned above, arthritis is a cartilage-degrading condition. Normally, cartilage absorbs impact when we walk and move, ensuring our bones don’t rub together. As this tissue wears down, it causes swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints, disrupting people’s ability to function in their daily lives.
Causes of Arthritis
The most common cause of arthritis is simple wear and tear over time, called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can progress more quickly due to genetic predisposition, if you work a job that involves a lot of hard labor and heavy lifting, and if you’ve had a previous injury in a joint. Besides, several other factors cause arthritis, including:
- Autoimmune diseases can cause arthritis as your body’s immune system attacks your own cartilage. This disease is called rheumatoid arthritis.
- Inflammatory disease can also cause arthritis by breaking down the tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an inflammatory disease, and another example of inflammatory disease is ankylosing spondylitis.
Best Treatment for Arthritis Pain
There are many treatments for arthritis with varying effectiveness. The best treatment for your arthritis treatment depends on three factors:
- The severity of your arthritis
- The side effects of the treatment you’re willing to put up with
- The type of pain relief you need
Let’s talk about these treatments, starting with least invasive to most invasive.
Medication-Free Treatments for Arthritis
If your arthritis is mild, you may want to start treatments with supplements, acupuncture, physical therapy, and a good exercise routine to manage your pain and slow the progression of arthritis.
Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin contain the nutrient “building block” of cartilage and may help treat arthritis. Acupuncture is an option for general pain management and can be used specifically to treat joint pain.
Physical therapy helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints and improve the posture that may be putting excess pressure on your joints. Physical therapy can range from exercise therapy to aquatic therapy in a heated pool, where floating in the water helps take the pressure off your joints while strengthening your muscles. Studies have shown that physical therapy is an effective way to manage pain from mild arthritis.
Lastly, exercise is crucial because moving your joints gently actually helps keep them healthy. Exercises like Pilates, tai chi, and yoga are great ways to stay in shape and slow the progression of arthritis.
Medications for Arthritis
Sometimes if you’re in pain and you just need relief, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are great options and usually enough to manage mild arthritis. As the condition advances, you may need to have the medication injected directly into the arthritic joint to relieve the pain. This includes injections of cortisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, or viscosupplementation, which temporarily improves the health of the joint. Currently, viscosupplementation is only FDA-approved to treat knees.
If your arthritis is more advanced and the previous therapies have not brought you pain relief, it may be time to consider surgery. There are a few different types of surgeries to treat arthritis. In a synovectomy or osteotomy, your surgeon will remove diseased soft tissue or bone, respectively. In other cases, the surgeon may recommend a joint fusion, in which the bones of the joint are fused together to prevent movement which relieves pain. In the most advanced cases, you may require a joint replacement, in which diseased bone and tissue is removed and replaced with metal implants than can move easily and without pain.
Arthritis Treatment Near Me
You need not endure arthritis anymore. At Central Florida Spine and Pain, we are equipped with advanced technologies to manage your arthritis and relieve your pain so you can get back to your pain-free life!
Our orthopedist, Dr. Nicholas Giordano, is a board-certified physician specializing in interventional pain management and treats hundreds of patients with arthritis at all stages.
To know more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Giordano, call us today at 321-802-5021, or fill out our convenient online appointment request form.