Without joints, movement would be impossible. From your first steps in the morning to your final sink into bed, you rely on your joints almost every moment of the day.
Unfortunately, because your joints bear so much daily responsibility, they’re extremely vulnerable to injury and degenerative conditions. Arthritis is one of the biggest threats to joint health, and its impact on the population becomes more prevalent every year.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that 23% of all adults — nearly 54 million people — have arthritis. Another 1 in 4 live with severe joint pain every day.
Though joint pain is one of the most common and often most debilitating symptoms of arthritis, there are a number of ways arthritis can impact your joint health.
Dr. David Wu and our team at CurePain in Torrance, California specialize in treating joint pain caused by arthritis, but we also know that joint pain is often accompanied by other symptoms. Today, we’re exploring arthritis and its lesser-known symptoms.
A review of arthritis
It’s often thought of as a single disease, but arthritis refers to joint pain or disease, and there are over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Virtually anyone, regardless of demographics, can develop arthritis. You can also have more than one arthritic joint in multiple areas of your body, though it typically develops in the hands, knees, and hips.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when cartilage, the cushioning substance in your joints, wears down over time, leaving your bones to rub against each other. Rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common type, is an autoimmune condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues in your joints and causes pain and other symptoms.
Warning signs of arthritis
Pain, especially pain that is sudden or severe, is typically the first indicator of arthritis. But if you don’t recognize the other warning signs, you might write your joint pain off as part of daily life. Pay attention to these symptoms people often miss.
As your joints lose more cartilage and your bones rub against each other, your body tells your immune system to respond to the damage. Your body’s immune response causes inflammation, which leads to swollen joints.
Healthy joints move freely and easily. Joints that are inflamed become swollen and stiff. If you find yourself having to stretch and rub your joints to get them moving, arthritis may be lurking below the surface.
Decreased range of motion
Sometimes the swelling becomes so severe that you can hardly move at all, no matter how much rubbing or stretching you do. You should report any changes in your range of motion to Dr. Wu, so he can evaluate you for arthritis.
Has the skin around your joint become red or maybe even a little warm to the touch? It might be due to the fact that your body is desperately trying to repair damage caused by arthritis, and the resulting swelling and inflammation have caused external redness.
Treating your arthritis
If you suspect you have arthritis, don’t worry. We have comprehensive interventional pain management therapies and treatments that can help you reduce your joint pain and other symptoms quickly and naturally.
You begin by meeting with Dr. Wu so he can determine the exact cause and extent of your arthritis. Then, he creates a treatment plan that will work best for you. Depending on your needs he may recommend:
- Arthritis-friendly physical activity
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Corticosteroid injections, such as cortisone shots
- Physical therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- PRP injections
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our friendly staff or head to our website to request one online.