When your body is plagued with arthritis pain, it is like a constant alarm going off, and no matter how many time you hit snooze, the pain keeps blaring on with persistence. When your body is in pain, nerves in that injured area release chemical signals, telling you that there is something wrong. Pain tells you that you need to do something. For example, if your hand accidentally touches a hot pan or stove, a signal of “that’s hot!” is sent to your brain, and makes you pull away your hand to prevent further injury. This type of pain is useful because it is your body’s way of protecting you from further injury.
Long-lasting (chronic) pain such as arthritis is a bit different. While chronic pain is also like an alarm that tells you something is wrong, symptoms are sometimes not visible to the naked eye, and it often isn’t totally relieved when you treat it. People with chronic arthritis pain often give into their pain, letting it dictate how they move, and what types of activities are achievable. Controlling this type of pain can be quite difficult.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects more than 50 million adults, and even 300,000 children, in the United States. Arthritis is a condition that can cause debilitating joint pain due to inflammation. Depending on what type you have, symptoms and treatment methods will vary.
There happen to be more than 100 different kinds of arthritis and related conditions, so getting the right diagnosis and treatment early enough is important, as having arthritis can significantly disrupt your life. The most common types of arthritis include:
- Osteoarthritis: This is by far the most common type of arthritis, which is caused by wear and tear, and often gets worse with age. This type of arthritis affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. Osteoarthritis makes the movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments must compensate and work harder. As the cartilage loss becomes more severe, an increase in bone on bone wear in the joint can actually result in the bone shapes changing and forcing the joint out of alignment.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering of the joint called the synovium is the first place that becomes affected. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape, and may cause the bone and cartilage to break down. Unfortunately, people with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body, as immune system disorders often have multiple effects.
- Psoriatic arthritis: People with this condition have inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis). Psoriasis causes patchy, raised, red and white areas of inflamed skin with scales, which is often painful and embarrassing.
If you’re living with chronic pain due to arthritis, it may be time to take a closer look at your symptoms and explore treatment options. Call Movement Orthopedics at (586) 436-3785 to schedule an appointment with our board-certified orthopedic surgeons, or request an appointment online right now.