Osteoarthritis and Its Different Treatments
Osteoarthritis currently affects more than 32.5 million adult Americans. According to Mayo Clinic, it’s the most common type of arthritis. It happens when the cartilage shielding your bones disintegrates with time. Osteoarthritis primarily affects the joints in your spine (spondylosis), sacroiliac joints, knees, hands, and hips.
Even though the pain associated with osteoarthritis can be debilitating, you can slow down the degenerative process by making lifestyle changes. You may also improve your quality of life with the right pain management treatment. Here’s what you need to know about osteoarthritis, and how you can effectively manage it.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by a range of factors ranging from:
- Rheumatoid arthritis, which usually progresses to osteoarthritis
- A broken bone or torn cartilage of the affected joint
- Weight gain
- Overuse of the joint
- Congenital abnormalities linked to osteoarthritis of the hip
- The aging process
- Growth hormone abnormalities and diabetes leading to premature cartilage disintegration
You may also develop osteoarthritis if you have poor posture or a dislocated joint. That being said, there are twice as many females who suffer from osteoarthritis than males. Women normally start to display symptoms in their 40’s, and the numbers increase after 55 years, or once they reach menopause.
Symptoms Linked to Osteoarthritis
Some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for are as follows:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint tenderness
- A decreased range of motion in your joints
- Reduced flexibility
- Unusual sensations like a grating sensation in your joints
- The sound of your joints cracking during movement
How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, which includes a range of motion evaluation, as well as a limitation of range of motion test. Your doctor will also ascertain whether you have any redness and swelling. He or she may also request an MRI scan or X-ray of the painful joint.
You may also need to undergo some laboratory testing, including a joint fluid analysis. Blood tests do not detect osteoarthritis, although it may detect other causes of pain. If the cause is something else like rheumatoid arthritis, it’s safe to exclude osteoarthritis.
Various Osteoarthritis Treatment Options
Incorporate lifestyle changes such as weight management, regular exercise with gentle movements like Tai Chi, and rest. If your pain is not severe, you could use a painkiller like Tylenol or a Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) that contains ibuprofen. You could also use medication containing duloxetine for the pain.
Physiotherapy may also help strengthen the muscles linked to your painful joint, which in turn boosts joint flexibility. You could also opt for surgery such as a knee osteotomy or a joint replacement operation. Some home remedies include applying hot and cold compresses to the painful joint, utilizing assistive devices to reduce joint stress, and wearing braces to support the affected joint.
You may also opt for one of our successful interventional pain management treatments. Some of these include the following:
Facet Joint Blocks
This procedure does not involve surgery and effectively relieves chronic back pain for up to seven days. It’s an anesthetic and steroid injection for facet joints either in your neck or back, depending on where your pain is located. The steroids help reduce inflammation and pain.
Our pain management specialist will numb the treatment area and use an X-ray to guide the needle into your facet joint. Possible complications with this method include nerve damage, infection, or discomfort at the injection site.
Epidural Steroid Injection
This treatment effectively treats pain related to spondylosis and neck, arm, knee, and arm osteoarthritis. Here an injection containing a pain-relieving steroid solution is injected into your epidural space. You lie flat on your stomach with a pillow beneath you to boost flection in your back. This enables the needle to navigate better.
Your doctor applies a local anesthetic to the injection area first, so you won’t have much discomfort. Some of the risks attached to this treatment are spinal headaches resulting from a dural puncture or infection.
Sacroiliac Joint Injection
Osteoarthritis can also affect your sacroiliac joints that join your pelvis and lower spine. These joints help transfer your upper body weight to your lower body. If you develop osteoarthritis here, you could suffer from excruciating bone spurs around the sacroiliac joint.
This method determines whether your sacroiliac joint is the source of pain, and if it is, helps reduce your pain. You’re required to lie on your stomach here. We use dye and a fluoroscope to mark and direct a needle containing a local anesthetic to your sacroiliac joint. The injected solution can also contain a corticosteroid to relieve inflammation. Potential risks here include bruising at the treatment site and weight gain.
Finding a Solution to Your Pain at MidSouth Pain Treatment Center
MidSouth Pain Treatment Center is recognized as a leader in pain management. With clinics located in Cordova, Germantown, Jackson (TN), Southaven, Tupelo, and Oxford, expert care is within your reach. Call now to book an appointment with one of our pain management specialists today!