Updated: May 31
Arthritis is a condition that most of us have at some point in our lifetime. It is a fairly common health problem and one that affects millions of Americans.
If you're reading this, you may be experiencing it now. Although there's no cure for arthritis, New York pain management treatments are available to help people manage symptoms.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints. It can affect your joints, spine, or other parts of your body. It's most common in older people but can occur at any age. Arthritis is often caused by wear and tear on the joints, but it can also be triggered by infections, injury, or overuse of muscles.
While some types of arthritis can be cured, it is an incurable disease in many cases. Arthritis can also cause pain, swelling, stiffness, or deformity in one or more body parts. While everyone experiences symptoms differently, there are some common signs such as reduced range of motion, stiffness, and joint settlement that are experienced by most patients.
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions your bones wears down and gets damaged. Cartilage is a tough, flexible tissue that covers and protects your joints. When it wears down, your bones rub together, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.
What Are The Types Of Arthritis?
There are many different types of arthritis, some more serious than others. Osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, and lupus are some of the most common types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage (the tough tissue that covers the ends of bones), causing painful bone-on-bone contact in affected joints. It is the most common type of arthritis which affects people of all ages but most commonly affects older adults as they age. It usually develops over time but can also appear suddenly after an injury or infection. It's most common in the fingers, knees, and hips but can affect any joint in your body.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes painful swelling in several joints at once — not just one as in osteoarthritis — as well as fatigue and muscle aches. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the entire body. It occurs when the immune system attacks your joints, causing them to become swollen and stiff over time. In some cases, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other organs in your body, such as your eyes or lungs.
Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in your body so much that it crystallizes in your joints and surrounding tissues, causing severe pain followed by sudden attacks of swelling, redness, and tenderness around the joints involved (usually toes).
Other types of arthritis include:
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
Reactive arthritis (Reiter's syndrome)
What Are The Symptoms of Arthritic Knee Pain?
The most common symptom is a pain in one or both knees, which can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms include:
Swelling around the joint
Loss of flexibility in the knee joint that makes it difficult to move your knee
A feeling that something is wrong with your knee when you move or use it
Joint cracking or popping sounds when you bend or straighten your knee
Swelling that occurs after physical activity
Stiffness and difficulty bending or straightening the knee
Tenderness over the kneecap (patella)
Sometimes, symptoms may not develop until the disease is more advanced. For example, some people with arthritic knee pain only experience pain after exercise or when they're carrying something heavy.
If you have symptoms of arthritic knee pain and want to book an appointment with a pain doctor about a diagnosis, it's important to be prepared with information about yourself. Questions you'll likely be asked include: What are your symptoms? How long have they been occurring? Are there any factors that make them worse or better? Has anyone in your family had knee problems?
Why is Early Diagnosis Important?
Arthritis is a leading cause of disability. It's estimated that more than 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and stiffness in the joints, primarily in the knees, hips, and lower back.
Arthritis can be caused by many things, including injury, obesity, and aging. If you have arthritis of the knee, you may experience severe pain during exercise or everyday activities like getting dressed or walking upstairs.
But arthritis doesn't always present itself with symptoms right away. Sometimes, it takes years for symptoms to appear after an injury or joint overuse. It is why early diagnosis is so important: The earlier you detect arthritis, the sooner you can start treating it and preventing further damage.
Is There A Treatment That Doesn't Involve Surgery?
If you're experiencing arthritic knee pain, It's important to see a pain specialist so they can determine what type of treatment is best for you. The pain doctor may order an x-ray or MRI scan to look at your knee joint and determine if there's any serious damage present.
While there's no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These may include medications, physical therapy, exercise, and weight loss programs. The treatment plan will depend on how severe your symptoms are as well as any other conditions that might be present such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Bottom line? There are a lot of options out there for people with arthritic knee pain, but not all of them involve surgery. Just because something is common or popular doesn't mean that it's the best option for your specific case.
A New York pain management specialist can help you figure out what treatment choice might be right for you, so don't be afraid to ask questions and get as much advice and guidance as possible before making a decision. The key is to make sure that you are getting the best information possible so that you can make sound decisions about your health. If you need additional information or treatment options, feel free to call our clinic today!