Painful Inflammation As Cartilage Wears Out
Joint Arthritis Facts & Information
Joint arthritis is one of the most common pain conditions. In fact, 50 percent of adults 65 years or older suffer from joint arthritis. As we age, so does the cartilage that lubricates our joints. When this cartilage wears out, it causes painful inflammation in the affected joints. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything to stop this from happening. However, there are treatments available to alleviate the pain.
How & Why Does Joint Arthritis Develop?
People with joint arthritis experience a breakdown of the cartilage, a protective substance that cushions the joints. The wearing down of cartilage causes your bones to rub against each other, which accounts for the pain, stiffness, swelling and restricted range of motion that can occur.
There are many types of joint arthritis, but the most common type is known as osteoarthritis, often called degenerative or wear-and-tear arthritis. It usually appears at middle age and develops slowly, caused by the wearing out of a joint through use or overuse, or even through stress from excess body weight. Although mostly a disease of older adults, joint arthritis can occur in younger individuals as well.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is another condition that also causes inflammation of the joint and surrounding tissues. However, unlike osteoarthritis, RA can also affect the organ systems of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs. RA is a chronic illness and may last for several years where symptoms may remain mild before progressively worsening over time. Other less common causes of joint arthritis may include infection and gout.
The symptoms of joint arthritis are similar to other pain conditions. Typically, the only symptoms will be pain and aching in a single joint, such as the hip, or more wide spread in multiple joints including the spine, knees, shoulders, hands, feet, and more. You may also wish to read about hip arthritis, knee arthritis, andosteoarthritis to gather more information.
Proper diagnosis starts with an experienced pain management doctor. The type of pain that you may have with joint arthritis can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. Accurately identifying the correct source of your pain is critical to successful treatment:
- Begins with a thorough clinical evaluation
- Including a complete medical history, analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination
- Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, and electro-diagnosis (EMG)
- These advanced diagnostic techniques help to pinpoint the source of pain