What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is not a single disease but refers to an inflammation of one or more joints that can have a number of different causes. Arthritis occurs more frequently in older individuals and can range from mild to severe and acute to chronic. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Your symptoms may vary based on the type of arthritis and can develop gradually or more quickly. Your symptoms might include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling and stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Redness in the skin around the joint
  • fatigue

If you experience rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms will likely involve the same joints on both sides of the body and will be more severe right after waking up.

Causes of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage on the end of bones have been worn, resulting in bone-on-bone contact. This grinding of the bones results in pain and restricted motion. This wear and tear can be caused by many years of joint movement, or from one specific joint injury or infection.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, the synovial membrane. Over time, this disease can damage the cartilage and bone within the joint.

Treatment for Arthritis

Certain lifestyle changes can be made to reduce your risk of certain types of arthritis. Weight loss and exercise to keep the joints flexible can reduce your risk of developing OA. For those who already have symptoms of arthritis, exercises that don’t stress the joints such as swimming can help you stay active. Using a hot or cold compress can help to relieve symptoms. Using assistive devices such as canes or walkers can help to protect the joints and can assist with daily activity.

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are many different treatment options available to control and manage symptoms. Vicodin, Tylenol, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medication can be used to reduce pain and swelling of the joints. For rheumatoid arthritis, medication to suppress the immune system might be used. Physical therapy might be recommended to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint. In more severe cases, surgery is required to replace the affected joint or to fuse two joints together until they heal. The course of your treatment will depend on the type of arthritis you have and its severity.

Severe arthritis can affect your ability to perform daily tasks such as writing, walking, and sitting up straight. If you experience symptoms of arthritis, you can contact Springfield Urgent Care to assess the affected area and determine what course of treatment you’ll need.

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