Arthritis is a group of inflammatory and noninflammatory joint diseases. There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A combination of the following factors can cause either form of the disease:
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which refers to the loss of cartilage in the joints over time. Less cartilage cushioning leads to bones wearing on each other and can produce nerve and joint damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that typically includes painful swelling of the joints, often centered around the hands and fingers. If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanent damage.
Arthritis is prevalent in the United States. In general, older adults and women are much more likely to develop arthritis. Obesity can also lead to arthritis, as the joints may wear faster when the body carries excess weight.
Rheumatoid arthritis can emerge at any age but commonly receives a diagnosis between the ages of 30 and 50. There is currently no cure, but remission is possible.
Dr. Boylan typically recommends physical therapy for most arthritis patients. Physical therapy can help you build strength and restore movement to improve your quality of life as you deal with the daily limitations of having arthritis.
Epidural injections can alleviate prolonged arthritis pain, too. To reduce inflammation and the source of pain, Dr. Boylan administers epidural steroid injections in the spine in the space between vertebrae.
The procedure shouldn't cause much discomfort, and you can return home the same day as it is an outpatient procedure. Pain relief can last for several months following the epidural injection, and the injections are repeatable, as needed.
For knee and shoulder osteoarthritis joint pain, Dr. Boylan often administers Hyalgan injections. Hyalgan mimics a substance that occurs naturally in the joints, and it can act as a lubricant to lessen pain. The joint, once treated with Hyalgan, can move more smoothly, reducing pain and inflammation.
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