In general, arthritis describes joint inflammation. However, there are many forms of the disease, resulting from simple wear and tear due to aging, to physical results and reactions to other medical conditions. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of the disease, and other types may result from lupus, psoriasis, or infections, to name a few causes.
Frequently, the symptoms of arthritis, regardless of cause, include pain, swelling, redness, inflammation, and reduced motion in an affected joint. These symptoms result from the damage caused by the disease. Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis cause damage in different ways, despite any similarity in symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis sees the body’s immune system attacking joint linings, a membrane that enclosed the various components of a knee, shoulder, or another joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of the condition and results from wear to cartilage in joints resulting in bone on bone contact.
In addition to pain management, non-surgical treatments of arthritis traditionally aim at joint preservation, and new techniques are now attempting joint regeneration in some cases.
Preservation techniques typically aim at reducing inflammation through medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or corticosteroid injections. Another injectable treatment assists the body’s synovial fluid. This is the liquid within a joint that reduces friction between cartilage covering the bones within a joint. Injections of hyaluronic acid supplements, a component of synovial fluid, may help reduce pain-generating contact.
Regeneration typically takes the form of stem cell injections, often complemented with platelet-rich plasma injections to add growth factor hormones to aid the body’s natural regenerative systems perform beyond conventional levels.
Frequently, increased activity and physical therapy improve the symptoms of arthritis, though this may seem counterintuitive to you if the symptoms interfere with your movement.
When arthritis begins to interfere with your ability to perform regular daily activities, and conservative treatments no longer produce results, it may be time to consider joint replacement, particularly if the associated pain keeps you from sleeping well or makes you avoid activity.
Dr. Katzman offers knee, hip, and shoulder replacement surgery for his patients once other treatment methods become ineffective.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!