Pain Management for Arthritis
Arthritis is an often painful disorder that can reduce normal movement and function. It can impact some or all of the bones, joints, and muscles in the body, and also tissues that support or connect these, such as cartilage. Many kinds of arthritis may result in the significant loss of mobility or normal function, due to the pain and other symptoms they may cause. This disorder, in all its forms is an increasingly prevalent healthcare and economic concern, affecting ever-growing numbers of people by the year.
The Causes of Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a term covering a multitude of conditions with similar symptoms and causes that can affect people of all ages. Some types of arthritis are associated with certain age groups, but others can affect people of any age. The loss of mobility, coupled with localized swelling and stiffness of joints, can be extremely painful and difficult to overcome. The ‘freezing’ of joints, or the near total loss of flexibility or mobility in a joint, can also be a side effect of an arthritic condition.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis patients tend to experience high levels of stiffness and discomfort that often increase with age or disease progression.
- Decreased flexibility or range of motion
- Joint tenderness
- A sense of “grating” in the joint (or even audible grating)
- Joint redness
- Swollen joint(s)
- Reductions in BMI
- High skin temperature (indicates an immune component)
- Joint stiffness or pain during or just after movement
- Joint stiffness or pain while rising after sitting or lying down
- Joint stiffness on waking
- Soreness or stiffness in affected joints, particularly in the lower back, knee, and hips joints
- Soreness or stiffness magnified by either over- or under-use of the joint
- Stiffness following rest that decreases gradually in response to movement
- An increase in pain after or during activity, or at night
Treating Arthritic Pain
Your pain physician at the Colorado Injury and Pain Specialists will determine the best course of action to help alleviate you arthritis-related pain after careful examination and testing.
There are no treatments available that can conclusively stop or reverse the progression of arthritis. The best outcomes of arthritis therapies include the reduction of pain and the conservation of mobility, usually through conditioning of muscles and joints to promote the retention of motion and flexibility. When arthritis is diagnosed, medical personnel may advise steps such as courses of analgesics and other drugs, joint support devices (e.g. braces or bands), the application of either heat or ice to the affected area, and strength training.
Other factors associated with control of arthritis symptoms include weight reduction and education in the prevention of further joint damage. This may be supported by observation that obese individuals involved in weight loss programs achieve a reduction of four pounds of pressure off their knee joints for every pound of body weight lost. This may contribute to a reduced risk of joint damage or inflammation. Physical therapy may also be recommended for the early stages of arthritis. A combination of two or more of the treatments mentioned above may result in effective remission of symptoms. In treatment-resistant cases, however, more invasive options such as surgery may become necessary.
Physical therapy can contribute significantly to the treatment of some arthritis patients. The condition tends to cause a reduction of physical activity below levels associated with a healthy lifestyle. Physical therapy may be recommended for the early stages of arthritis. This includes education of patients in the beneficial effects of increasing or maintaining activity levels. A combination of two or more of the treatments mentioned above may result in effective remission of symptoms. In treatment-resistant cases, however, more invasive options such as surgery may become necessary.
If you have been diagnosed with any form of arthritis, or believe you may be experiencing pain or swelling as a result of an arthritic condition, please contact the area’s pain management experts at the Colorado Injury and Pain Specialists today to schedule your initial arthritis pain management consultation.