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At River Bend Medical Associates, we have treated many patients with arthritis and have helped to restore them to a life of less pain and greater mobility. If you’re experiencing joint pain or stiffness, don’t suffer in silence. 

At River Bend Medical Associates, we understand that arthritis can be a painful and disruptive problem. Many people believe that with age comes discomfort, but growing older itself does not necessarily cause joint pain. When daily tasks, such as walking, bathing, or just opening a jar become difficult or painful, it’s time to contact your family doctor. Your family physician at River Bend Medical Associates can help you with a diagnosis and a treatment plan to help you manage your arthritis.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common condition that can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in your joints making it difficult to move or stay active.  

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and associated joint conditions that can affect your joints or tissue surrounding your joints. 

Symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis you have, but the most common symptoms are pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, or stiffness.

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Common Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Also known as degenerative joint disease, this form of arthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. This is why some refer to it as wear and tear arthritis. Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the hips, hands, and knees.

Gout can cause severe pain and swelling in your joints. It is a condition in which inflammation is caused by a build-up of uric acid in your body. If your body produces too much uric acid, and your kidneys can’t filter enough out, small sharp crystals known as monosodium urate can build up in your joints, fluids, and tissues. Symptoms of gout include pain that can be severe, swelling, redness, and a hot or tender joint.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorder. If you have RA, your immune system attacks the tissue lining the joints by mistake, causing inflammation and painful swelling in the affected parts of your body. Rheumatoid Arthritis often affects many joints at once and can also cause fatigue, weakness, fever, and weight loss.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes aches and pain all over the body. In addition to joint pain, fibromyalgia can cause fatigue, sleep, memory, and emotional and mental distress. 

Though the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, it can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies.

Childhood arthritis can make it hard for kids to do everyday things like dressing, walking, or playing. The most common type of childhood arthritis is JIA or juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This type of arthritis causes joint swelling and stiffness in kids 16 and younger. Unlike adult arthritis, JIA is chronic and can last months or years. 

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can affect many various parts of the body. If you have Lupus, an auto-immune flare or attack can cause joint inflammation, pain, fever, skin rashes, or possibly organ damage.

Psoriatic Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the skin and joints. Psoriatic arthritis can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in any joint in your body but often affects the ankles, knees, hands, and feet.

What Should I do if I think I Have Arthritis?

If you are concerned about arthritis, the most important step you can take is to talk to your family doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing. Joint pain is not just a sign of aging, and your doctor can help you to get an accurate diagnosis so that a treatment plan can be initiated as soon as possible. 

Early treatment of arthritic symptoms can help to minimize symptoms and, with some types of arthritis, potentially delay further deterioration of your joints.

Managing Arthritis

Treatment for arthritis generally focuses on reducing symptoms and pain, minimizing joint damage, and improving or maintaining your quality of life. Your treatment plan may include medications, injections, physical therapy, and self-managing strategies.

You can play an active role in managing your arthritis by keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your family doctor’s office and following your recommended treatment plan. This is particularly important if you also have other chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

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Some self-managing strategies for managing your arthritis include:
  • Losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Reducing the amount of weight your joints support is important for people with arthritis. Reducing joint stress can reduce joint pain. If you are overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can reduce some of the stress put on weight-bearing joints like the knees, and hips.  
  • Physical activity is an easy effective, and drug-free way to reduce arthritis pain. Staying active can reduce joint pain, and improve function, mood, sleep, and quality of life in many people with arthritis. Regular exercise can help improve bone health, brain health, and weight control. Staying physically active can also reduce your risk of developing other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Protecting your joints from stress and injury. Joint injuries can cause arthritis or make it worse if you already have it. Choose physical activities that are less stressful for your joints like swimming, walking, or biking. These low-impact activities do not require you to twist or put too much stress on your joints and have a low risk of injury.

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints. There are many forms of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and inhibit mobility.

Some forms of arthritis stem from autoimmune disorders or inflammatory conditions. Other types are the result of natural wear and tear. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, including physical therapy, medications, self-management strategies, or surgery. Your family doctor will evaluate your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your joint pain. Most patients can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.

At River Bend Medical Associates, we have treated many patients with arthritis and have helped to restore them to a life of less pain and greater mobility. If you’re experiencing joint pain or stiffness, don’t suffer in silence. 

Contact the caring medical professionals at River Bend Medical Associates. Your family physician can help you with a diagnosis and a treatment plan to help you manage your arthritis.