What is Arthritis?

arthritis Emed know arthritis can interfere with your life, and we have the expertise and tools to help you manage it so you can get back to doing what you love.

Arthritis is a collection of diseases that affect the bones and joints. Osteoarthritis is the type most commonly thought of as ARTHRITIS. The suffix “itis” usually indicates inflammation, but in OsteoArthritis it actually means a degeneration of joint tissue. This can cause inflammation and pain, especially at its end stages, but can be painless as it develops.

Consequently a common misconception about arthritis is that it is caused by overuse of a joint. When seen on an x-ray the joint space appears as though it has been worn away from too much pressure and time. In actuality, it is from a lack of use that causes arthritis in joints. If you were to wear a cast on your elbow for several years, arthritis would set in, degenerate the joints and eventually fuse the joint spaces together!

Because the spine is especially sensitive to arthritis. This is because the spine is made up of so many joints that immobility and dysfunction can occur without notice. After a trauma a vertebral unit (two vertebrae and the joint between them) can be knocked out of the proper alignment, causing joint dysfunction and immobility. As a result when the joint stops functioning arthritis sets in just as if the joint space were wearing a cast. Over time the space degenerates and the body attempts to fuse the spaces together. As calcium is deposited it becomes bone spurs which can aggravate nerves and soft tissue. Chiropractic care keeps spinal joints functioning and mobile which has been shown to prevent arthritis.

Consequently with our in-house X-ray imaging and rheumatoid work up, we will be able to treat most causes of arthritis. EMed’s in-house medication distribution will allow a patient to obtain their medications here.

Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.

There are different types of arthritis:

Degenerative Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age and previous injury (an anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tear, for example).

When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate, they can be managed by:

  • balancing activity with rest
  • using hot and cold therapies
  • regular physical activity
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
  • using assistive devices
  • taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
  • avoiding excessive repetitive movements

If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary.

Osteoarthritis can prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.

Inflammatory Arthritis

A healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. But the immune system can go awry, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genes.

Consequently with autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage. Remission is the goal and may be achieved through the use of one or more medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage.

Metabolic Arthritis

Consequently Uric acid is formed as the body breaks down purines, a substance found in human cells and in many foods. As a result some people have high levels of uric acid because they naturally produce more than is needed or the body can’t get rid of the uric acid quickly enough. In some people the uric acid builds up and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain, or a gout attack.