Chronic pain is described as ongoing or progressively worsening pain lasting three months or longer. With arthritis, a disorder that causes inflammation and eventual degeneration of tissue in the joints, the pain only increases as the disease progresses. Over time, daily activities are disrupted and can result in complete loss of function without intervention. Early detection is essential, as most types of arthritis can be managed to significantly reduce negative long-term effects. Elderly or aging people are most susceptible to arthritis, however, there are different types that can develop in people of all ages.

 

What are the types of arthritis?

Arthritis is an umbrella term that describes hundreds of conditions, all of which affect different joints around the body. Osteoarthritis is most common. This type results from repeated stress like high impact exercise and can affect most major joints such as the hip, shoulder, and wrist. Juvenile arthritis is described as arthritis that affects our youth, or children under 16 years of age. Psoriatic arthritis can be a side effect of psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disorder. Gout is a type of arthritis that results from uric acid buildup in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is another autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack joint tissues.

If you have a family history, engage in high-impact activities, or have an autoimmune disorder, you may be more likely to develop arthritis. Women are at higher risk than men, being overweight puts unnecessary strain on the joints that can lead to arthritis.

 

What are the symptoms?

            Symptoms of arthritis vary depending on the type. They can range from mild to severe and may be constant or fleeting. The most common symptoms include joint pain, redness, stiffness and mobility issues, swelling, and tenderness. In more progressed cases, the joint may become completely immobile.

Your doctor will most likely perform imaging tests to determine the stage of disease, either through an x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI. For gout or rheumatoid arthritis, certain blood tests may be used to aid diagnosis to look for uric acid crystals or other inflammatory proteins. These imaging tests can show the extent of cartilage breakdown, measure tissue inflammation, or reveal possible injuries that may be causing the pain and be unrelated to arthritis.

 

I’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, how can I manage my disease?

While there is no cure, early detection can help to prevent significant disease progression. Nonsurgical treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or cortisone injections can be used to help manage symptoms. In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend fusion or replacement. Joint fusion is the process in which the cartilage is removed, and the bones are fused together to prevent movement. Joint replacement removes the diseased tissue and replaces it with an artificial joint.

 

 

At Roger’s Family Pharmacy, we know that prevention is key to maintaining overall health and wellness. If you’re experiencing chronic pain or stiffness that mat be attributed to arthritis, it’s important that you talk with your doctor for earliest possible detection. Visit the National Arthritis Foundation website at www.arthritis.org to learn more, or you may also consult your local pharmacist at Roger’s Family Pharmacy at (601) 582-8351 for additional information.