Arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans however it is often a condition that is misunderstood. As with any disease, it is important to learn the facts and understand its potential impact.
To better understand arthritis, you need to know how a joint works. A joint is where two bones on the body connect. Ligaments hold the two bones together keeping them in place. Cartilage covers the bone surface to stop the two bones from rubbing together, allowing the joints to work smoothly and painlessly. A capsule surrounds the joint and the space within the joint, the joint cavity, has synovial fluid. This fluid nourishes the joint and the cartilage.
If you have arthritis, then something has happened to your joints. What has happened all depends on what kind of arthritis you have. It could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of fluid, autoimmunity (when your body attacks itself), infection, or a combination of everything. Researchers believe that a combination of several factors working together cause most types of arthritis. These factors include:
- Your genetic makeup
- A physically demanding job
- A previous injury
- Some infections or allergic reactions may cause short-term arthritis, “reactive arthritis”
- Certain food may bring on arthritis symptoms or make them worse
- Autoimmune disease
Arthritis is not just minor aches and pains associated with getting older. It affects people of all ages, races, and genders. In fact, two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65, including over 300,000 children. Arthritis takes many forms but three of the most common are:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) - a progressive degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage associated with risk factors, such as overweight/obesity, history of joint injury and age.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - a systemic disease characterized by the inflammation of the membranes lining the joint, which causes pain, stiffness, warmth, swelling and sometimes severe joint damage.
- Juvenile Arthritis (JA) - an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.
Arthritis is a serious health problem accounting for 44 million outpatient visits and 992,100 hospitalizations each year. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and actually a more frequent cause of activity limitations than heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
At Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine we understand that arthritis affects people in many different ways. How long you have been affected and the severity depends on your type of arthritis. Some people have good days and some bad days. It is important to remember that if you suffer from arthritis it doesn’t mean that you have to give up your lifestyle.
We offer many treatment options including diagnostic and therapeutic injections such as facet injections, trigger point and joint injections, cold laser therapy, interventional pain management,acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, and many more.
To learn more about our services and how we can help you maintain or achieve an active lifestyle with arthritis, contact us for an appointment. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.