Arthritis is a common disease, yet few people understand exactly what it is. Did you know that there are over 100 types of arthritis? Most of us know someone who is suffering from arthritis, which affects over 50 million people in the United States alone. Arthritis refers to joint disorders which typically include stiffness, inflammation and pain as the result of damage to the joint. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are three of the most common types of arthritis. What are the causes of these types, as well as their symptoms and treatments?

Most Common Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis

As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis typically develops in older adults after years of wear and tear on the joints. Cartilage, which helps cushion the bones in our joints, can degenerate over time. This degenerative process can be accelerated by previous injuries to the joints, being overweight or a genetic predisposition to the disorder. Eventually, the loss of cartilage in the joints can lead to bone-on-bone contact, which can be very painful.

For most people who suffer from osteoarthritis, the hips, knees, feet and spine are most affected. Symptoms can include aching joints, stiffness and reduced flexibility. Joint stiffness and reduced range of motion are most noticeable after long periods of rest or movement. Osteoarthritis can be treated at a pain and joint clinic and treatment can include physical therapy and steroid injections, based on the symptoms.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy joints. Genetic and environmental factors can cause rheumatoid arthritis, which may result in joint inflammation, loss of joint cartilage and associated pain and swelling. Most commonly, the hands and wrists of people living with rheumatoid arthritis are affected by the disease, but all joints are subject to deterioration.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis can include comprehensive care by pain management physicians, physical therapy, dietary supplements, steroid injections and potentially regenerative medicine such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to help heal damaged joints.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It’s more likely be genetically inherited and may present with skin symptoms in addition to joint pain. In this disorder, fingers and toes can swell, and people may have abnormal nail growth and red, scaly patches on their skin. People who have symptoms of psoriasis—an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin—may develop associated symptoms of psoriatic arthritis at some point in their life.

Psoriatic arthritis is treated based on symptoms and may include a combination of therapies. Most recently, biological response modifiers, a type of medication, have been shown to help some people living with psoriatic arthritis. Also referred to as biologics, these medications help control the inflammatory response of the immune system, which can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Our Pain Management Physicians Can Help

At Summit Spine & Joint Centers, our mission is to help reduce your chronic pain and enable you to live comfortably. If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis, our pain and joint clinic offers minimally invasive treatment options to effectively reduce pain with a multidisciplinary approach. Call us for a consultation with one of our pain management physicians at (770) 250-4020, or contact us online today!