No matter where you go, you often overhear someone talking about their arthritis pain. Many people are living with one form or another of arthritis. Arthritis comes in many forms, some being disabling, while others result from aging, injury, and wear and tear over time.
Think of it this way: When you walk down your block, think of every third house being home to an arthritis sufferer. Arthritis sufferers are your neighbors, the lady at the coffee café and the man that works at the corner market, yes, one in six people in your neighborhood are living with the frustration and pain of arthritis.
What Is Arthritis & What Are the Symptoms?
Did you know that there are two main groups for arthritis with more than 100 variants:
- Osteoarthritis — Refers to the damage of the cartilage in your joints, which causes your bones to rub together, which results in stiffness, pain, and gradual loss of use. Some types of osteoarthritis are acquired due to genetics, while others are a result of over-utilization, injury, or aging.
- Inflammatory Arthritis — Refers to autoimmune forms of arthritis known as inflammatory arthritis. With this type of arthritis, your own immune system attacks your body’s healthy tissues and joints, which causes inflammation and damage to your joints. The most common type of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. However, some other common types are:
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
How Common Is Arthritis?
According to the CDC, there are over 58.5 million Americans living with the pain of arthritis daily. In terms of treatment, medication is the traditional option of providing relief, and some medications may even be able to slow down any damage to your joints in some patients with inflammatory arthritis. You will also need to make some real changes to your lifestyle, like:
- Healthy Eating
- Physical Therapy
- In the United States, over 58.5 million individuals live with arthritis.
- 24% of Americans live with arthritis.
- Arthritis does not discriminate between sex or race, anyone can be afflicted.
- Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States
The Four Stages of Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is classified in four stages. These stages are based on x-rays of joint cartilage changes.
The more severe your arthritis is, the better your chances of being told that you may need to replace the affected joint. Regenerative options for treatment may provide relief and functional improvement of your joint.
Arthritis Stages Explained
Stage 1: Minor — Normal Joint Space
Symptoms: sporadic pain
Limited changes to your joint or bone spur.
Stage 2: Mild — Normal Joint Space
Mild joint changes and modest bone spurs.
Symptoms: Stiffness and mild pain.
Stage 3: Moderate — Narrow Joint Space
Moderate joint shift and apparent bone spurs.
Symptoms: constant medium level pain on a constant basis, even with mild activities such as walking.
Stage 4: Severe — Very Narrow Joint Space
Severe joint changes, with bone spurs throughout your joint. Also known as “Bone on Bone”
Symptoms: Severe pain, whether being mildly active or trying to rest and sleep, is a challenge.
Consider a Holistic Approach
Many interventional pain doctors adopt a holistic approach to arthritis and chronic pain management. Your chronic arthritis pains are a response to a blend of:
- Physical Stress — A past injury (such as a vehicle accident) or overuse can affect your tendons, muscles, and joints, and cause pain and arthritis. On the flip-side, too little mobility, poor posture, and lack of exercise can also cause this to happen.
- Chemical Stress — There are two chemical stressors that affect everyone on a daily basis, which include:
- External Stress: Includes cleaning chemicals, and air and environmental pollution.
- Internal Stress: Includes things that people consume, such as preserved and processed foods, smoking and alcohol as well. When your body is stressed, it will take longer to eradicate toxins, as opposed to spending energy on healing and repair.
- Emotional Stress — Emotional stressors can pretty much come from anywhere, there are many things that can happen in a day that can cause emotional stress. For instance; stress at work, relationship issues, and unfortunate news.
Steroid Injections for Pain Relief
Steroid injections are a type of procedure where a steroid medication is directly injected into the tendon or joint to minimize the swelling and pain that accompanies osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. This is an effective way of reducing your swelling and pain in a local manner.
How Soon Does It Take Effect And How Long Will It Last?
- Steroid (Cortisone) Injection: Causes pain and flare-ups initially, however, it does help to reduce inflammation and perhaps pain as well.
- Side Effects: Initial pain at the injection site known as a “steroid flare,” along with insomnia and some possible bruising.
- Effectiveness: Normally lasts from three to four months and supplies mild pain relief. However, it does destroy cartilage and bones.
Most steroid injections generally take effect within 24 to 48 hours. If a local anesthetic (“freezing”) accompanies your injection, it is possible to feel a reduction in pain rather quickly. There may be a short period of discomfort in your joint, but that is normal and should resolve itself within 24 hours.
If you’re living with chronic pain and inflammation from arthritis, and you’ve had enough of prescription and Over The Counter (OTC) pain medications that only help for a couple of hours, if at all. If you’re interested in learning more about arthritis pain treatment options, contact North Lakes Pain today to schedule your appointment and get started on your journey to feeling better and living the best life possible.