You probably never thought about the job your joints do every day until you started experiencing joint pain. Any bit of movement can cause severe pain and limit your mobility. You might have trouble with routine tasks, such as walking, showering, and driving. Joint pain can also affect a person’s ability to do their job and care for their family. It’s disruptive and reduces the quality of life.
Arthritis is a common cause of chronic pain in the joints. Various types of arthritis attack the joints, tissue, and cartilage resulting in severe damage. As the condition progresses, reduced motion or loss of mobility can occur. Over time, disability can result from a lack of joint movement and physical activity.
The Jersey City arthritis pain treatment specialists of Jersey Premier Pain, we understand the limitations placed on a person’s body when arthritis develops. You shouldn’t have to live the rest of your life missing out on the activities you used to enjoy. Physical therapy could help to loosen stiff joints, increase range of motion, and build stronger muscles.
Call us at 201-386-8800 or contact us online to set up an appointment to determine the source of your arthritis pain and learn about how physical therapy could manage or alleviate your symptoms.
What Is Arthritis?
You might picture someone older, disabled, or suffering from a severe illness when you think of arthritis. Although natural wear and tear can weaken joints, other factors can contribute to the development of arthritis.
Arthritis isn’t a single medical condition. Multiple types of arthritis can develop, causing joint pain. Additional symptoms might include:
- Limited range of motion
Symptoms vary for each person. Some people experience chronic pain, while others have symptoms that come and go randomly. Arthritis pain can also be mild, moderate, or severe and progress or worsen over time.
Common Types of Arthritis
Arthritis refers to a number of diseases and conditions that affect the joints, surrounding tissue, and connective tissue. The symptoms caused by arthritis depend on the type, but most involve joint pain and stiffness.
The most common types of arthritis include:
Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and additional symptoms, such as:
- Pain and stiffness throughout the body
- Trouble sleeping
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulty with memory, concentration, and thinking
- Headaches, including migraines
Some people might also experience:
- Face or jaw pain
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Digestive issues
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis, typically affecting the joint at the end of the big toe. However, gout can also develop in other areas of the body, such as joints in the ankles, knees, and smaller toes.
There are periods of remission where no symptoms occur and periods when the symptoms worsen, also called a flare-up. Common symptoms of gout include:
- Joint point
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in adults, affecting more than 32.5 million people in the United States. When cartilage in a joint breaks down, the bones can rub against each other, causing inflammation. The most common symptoms include:
- Pain or aching joints
- Decreased range of motion
- Stiffness in the joints
In some cases, OA patients experience reduced physical functioning. They might become disabled and can no longer complete daily tasks or return to their jobs.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks healthy cells, resulting in inflammation in the area affected by this disease. RA commonly occurs in the wrists, knees, and hands. It can also affect tissues in other body parts, including the lungs, eyes, and heart.
Joint inflammation damages the tissue and leads to a range of symptoms, such as:
- Joint pain or aches
- Weight loss
- Joint stiffness
- Symptoms affecting the same part of the body on both sides, such as both hands
- Swelling and tenderness in more than one joint
How to Diagnose Arthritis
If you believe arthritis might be the source of your pain, visit your doctor immediately. They can perform some tests to determine if you have arthritis and the type causing your symptoms.
Your physician will likely begin with a physical exam to look for signs of redness, swelling, or warmth in your joints. They will also ask you to perform specific movements to check for mobility issues.
Diagnosing arthritis might also require various tests, such as:
- Laboratory testing – An analysis of joint fluid, urine, and blood could detect the type of arthritis causing the inflammation and pain.
- X-ray – An X-ray can show bone spurs, cartilage loss, and bone damage.
- Ultrasound – Ultrasounds take images of cartilage, soft tissue, and other structures near the joints.
- CT scan – Looking at the joints, bones, and surrounding tissue from different angles could determine the type of arthritis and the extent of the damage.
- MRI – An MRI creates cross-sectional images to better view the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage surrounding the joints.
Physical Therapy for the Treatment of Arthritis Pain
People with arthritis typically have stiff joints because they try to avoid moving their bodies in ways that lead to pain. Unfortunately, reducing movement in your joints can actually worsen stiffness and pain.
The point of physical therapy is to loosen joints without causing further damage. Attending physical therapy regularly could help a patient resume their usual activities without much trouble.
When you meet with your physical therapist, they will likely focus on treatment methods for:
- Preserving the use of the affected joint
- Increasing range of motion
- Building strength in nearby muscles
- Learning how to use an assistive device, such as a cane or crutches
It might seem counterintuitive, but following an exercise program can effectively treat arthritis and manage the pain associated with it. Most people believe rest is the best way to combat inflammation, and while that is partly true, you also need to keep your joints moving in the right way, so they don’t suffer further damage and become too stiff to move.
Contact Jersey Premier Pain for an Appointment
If you’re experiencing pain associated with arthritis, contact Jersey Premier Pain immediately. We can evaluate your condition to determine whether arthritis is the culprit and recommend a physical therapy regimen.
Our team will explain ways to manage your pain and other symptoms of arthritis so you can get your life back. Call us at 201-386-8800 today for an appointment with one of our dedicated and experienced pain management specialists.