Arthritis is a chronic health condition that affects more than 50 million Americans. The term “arthritis” encompasses a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and affects people of all ages.
The Most Common Types of Arthritis:
- osteoarthritis – a progressive degenerative disease resulting from destruction of joint cartilage
- rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease that is characterized by inflammation of the tissues lining the joints
- juvenile arthritis – any arthritic condition occurring in children younger than 16 years of age
The pain experienced by patients with osteoarthritis results from breakdown of cartilage and the lubricant material that protects the bones. With destruction of these protective substances, the bones begin to rub against each other in the joint space, causing significant pain.
As a result of the constant friction of the bones, inflammation often results. Inflammation is treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which also relieve pain. In some cases, a physician may prescribe a narcotic analgesic for pain relief if the condition is severe.
Osteoarthritis usually affects joints that are weight-bearing or that are frequently used. The disease is normally asymmetric, although both sides may be affected. The pain begins gradually and can be come extremely debilitating as the condition progresses. It is not uncommon for joint replacement to become necessary.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a result of malfunction in the body’s immune system. The body produces antibodies that attack the tissues of the joint, and the condition progresses to joint destruction.
Rheumatoid may also affect other organs in the body. Patients who experience rheumatoid arthritis may have cycles of inflammation that persist for weeks.
Due to this, patients with rheumatoid arthritis may take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other analgesic medications, but it is important to attempt to stop the process of joint destruction with a class of drugs known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. These medications work to modulate the immune response and some of these medications work at a cellular level.
Optimizing treatment of pain experienced by patients with arthritis involves more than medication.
Physical therapy and exercise can reduce pain and help maintain function.
For patients with joint destruction, assistive devices may be available. Braces can improve stability and reduce pain.
Weight loss is a successful way to reduce the stress on joints.
Therapy with heat or cold works in some cases, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation has been found useful for control of short term pain in some patients with arthritis.
Metropolitan Pain Consultants offers two forms of regenerative medicine: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC). Both treatments are nonsurgical alternatives for arthritic pain relief.
PRP and BMC make use of a patient’s own blood and adult stem cells to rejuvenate the damaged or decaying sections of the body. It works particularly well with a disease like arthritis.
If you are experiencing chronic pain from arthritis contact us to setup a consultation with one of our pain specialists. Here, we will discuss your available options for pain management. Our aim is to relieve your pain. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.