Arthritis pain is caused by the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cushion between bones (cartilage) breaks down, which causes the joints to swell and makes it difficult to move. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints called the synovium.
Areas where arthritis can occur
Any joint in the body can be affected by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The most commonly affected areas are the:
The knee is the largest and strongest joint in the body, made up of three different bones. Each end of the bones is covered with articular cartilage, a smooth, slippery substance that protects and cushions the bones as you bend and straighten your knee. The knee joint is also surrounded by a thin lining called the synovial membrane, which releases a fluid that lubricates the cartilage and reduces friction.
Knee arthritis can make it difficult to do many activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. Arthritis in the knee can occur from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It can also develop after a knee injury. Post-traumatic arthritis can result from a torn meniscus, ligament injury, or knee fracture.
Four major types of arthritis typically affect the shoulder joint. These include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and rotator cuff tears. Post-traumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation of the shoulder. Arthritis can also develop after a large, long-standing rotator cuff tendon tear.
Spinal arthritis is inflammation of the facet joints in the spine or sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis. This condition may be related to wear and tear, autoimmune disorders, infection and other conditions. Arthritis in the back or neck can be extremely painful and often becomes chronic. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and spondyloarthritis are the most common types of spinal arthritis.
Fight Back Against Arthritis Pain
Arthritis can cause pain and result in lasting damage to the joints. Try these few effective home remedies for slowing disease progression and helping you fight back against arthritis:
Aquatic exercises can be quite beneficial for those with arthritis. Water provides resistance, which helps increase exercise intensity. The buoyancy that the water provides also helps support body weight, relieving pressure on the joints.
Hot and cold therapy
Heat and cold treatments are both effective methods for reducing arthritis pain. Heat therapy works by boosting circulation and can soothe stiff joints and aching muscles. On the other hand, cold therapy restricts blood vessels, which slows circulation, reduces swelling, and numbs the pain.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, several studies have shown the effectiveness of massage in people with arthritis and related conditions. Regularly massaging the muscles and joints can help soothe pain resulting from arthritis.
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the most frequently used drugs to ease the pain, inflammation and stiffness that come with arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. NSAIDs work by preventing an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) from making hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins, the body’s biggest contributors to inflammation.
Physical therapy can help you get moving safely and effectively. The goals of physical therapy for arthritis typically include:
- Improving the mobility and restoring the use of affected joints
- Increasing strength to support the joints
- Maintaining fitness
- Preserving the ability to perform daily activities
If a 3-6 month trial of conservative, self-care treatments have not provided relief, schedule an appointment with one of the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine’s specialized providers! We offer advanced interventional and minimally invasive techniques to help treat chronic complex pain. Schedule your appointment today!