An Overview of Osteoarthritis during National Arthritis Awareness Month
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is typically caused by aging joints, a joint injury or obesity. While the natural aging process or a joint injury may be unpreventable, an individual can help avoid the development of osteoarthritis by remaining active and staying at a healthy weight. There is no cure for this common joint condition, so prevention and proper treatment are very important. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, a pain management clinic in Tyler, Texas, would like to share valuable information on osteoarthritis during National Arthritis Awareness Month.
What to Know About Osteoarthritis
Commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world. The condition is most often found in weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and spine, but it can also affect the shoulders, elbows and ankles.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage. Cartilage is the firm, white, rubbery material that covers the ends of each bone throughout the body. Its main function is to provide a smooth, pain-free surface for the joints to glide over and against each other. The structure also serves as a shock absorber because it has the ability to change shape when compressed.
Normal wear and tear, an injury or being overweight places additional stress on the cartilage, and often causes it to break down over time. As the cartilage degenerates, bones begin to rub against each other, leading to joint pain, swelling and decreased range of motion. In severe cases, bone spurs may even develop and lead to severe and debilitating symptoms.
Arthritis Facts and Figures during
National Arthritis Awareness Month
Each May, the Arthritis Foundation leads the country in ways to overcome arthritis and its effects by providing numerous tools and resources to learn more about the joint condition. Here are some important facts and figures our pain management clinic would like to share during National Arthritis Awareness Month.
- Nearly 53 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis; that number is expected to grow to 67 million by 2030.
- Arthritis is the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability.
- 1/3 of working-age people with arthritis have limitations in their ability to work, the type of work they can do or whether they can work part time or full time.
- People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis –two major kinds of arthritis – miss a combined 172 million workdays every year.
- 36% of adults who are obese have arthritis.
How Pain Management Physicians Diagnose and Treat Osteoarthritis
A pain management physician is able to diagnose osteoarthritis by a combination of symptoms, symptom onset, location and pattern of pain, a medical review, a physical examination and diagnostic testing (x-rays and/or MRI).
There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis so getting the proper treatment is critical. The joint condition is usually treated with a combination of exercise, weight loss, heat and cold therapy, physical therapy exercises and pain management injections and medications. If osteoarthritis is too severe, or if conservative treatment does not alleviate symptoms, a surgical procedure may be the next step of treatment.
For additional resources on osteoarthritis during National Arthritis Awareness Month, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management clinic of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.