Pain and stiffness in the joints is commonly caused by a condition called osteoarthritis, though there are many conditions that can cause joint pain, including rheumatoid arthritis, and infectious arthritis. Many people think joint arthritis is a normal part of aging, but it is not.
Depending on the cause of your joint pain, symptoms can include stiffness that gets progressively worse, swelling in the joints, and tenderness. Once your doctor has determined the cause, a treatment plan can be established to help reduce and manage pain.
There are different causes of joint arthritis and the pain that it brings. Some of the most common causes include:
The most common form of joint arthritis, osteoarthritis, is typically treated with over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce pain or NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen), which reduce both pain and swelling. In some cases stronger prescription NSAIDs can be given, as well as narcotic drugs like codeine.
Other therapies can include strength exercises with a physical therapist, lifestyle changes with an occupational therapist, the use of braces to support the affected joints, and cortisone shots from a pain management physician. In more severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.
Many people with rheumatoid arthritis may receive steroid injections but most commonly drugs called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs will be prescribed. In more aggressive cases, drugs known as biologic agents are given.
For degenerative arthritis, here are the types of therapies offered:
For most patients with osteoarthritis, activity avoidance and the above treatments can help avoid the need for surgery. This has been exciting, as the injections offer over an 80% good to excellent result which can last for months at a time. The topical medications have been amazing as well.
“Osteoarthritis.” Causes. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2014. http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/understanding-arthritis-symptoms
American College of Rheumatology N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2014.
“Infectious Arthritis.” : Bone and Joint Infections: Merck Manual Home Edition. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.