How Does Arthritis Affect The Body?

At Greater Austin Pain Center, one of our areas of expertise is dealing with arthritic joints. Arthritis is actually a term for a group of over 100 diseases that affects the muscular and skeletal systems, causing joint pain, stiffness, immobility, and swelling. It alters joint cartilage – the tough, shock-absorbing material that covers the ends of many of our bones. This cartilage forms a smooth surface and allows the bones in our joints to glide easily during motion. However, arthritis causes the cartilage to wear away. Loss of this protective lining can cause painful bone-on-bone rubbing.

In addition to the cartilage that covers the ends of certain bones, there is also a membrane called synovium that lines joints. The synovium secretes a thick liquid called synovial fluid, which acts as a cushion and lubricant between the joints, reducing friction between bones and preventing wear and tear. Synovial fluid is also present in our ligaments, the strong tissue that connect our bones and provide stability.

Most Common Types Of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting some 21 million Americans alone. Cartilage degradation leads to bones making contact with each other, resulting in abnormal bone growths called osteophytes, commonly known as bone spurs. These bone spurs result in pain, swelling, and limited movement. Osteoarthritis is often most painful in the weight-bearing joints, including the spine, hip, and knee.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is another serious and disabling type of arthritis. It is a long-lasting autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the synovium, as well as swelling and degradation of the joints. Pain, stiffness, and swelling are usually ongoing symptoms, even during rest. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly occurs in the hand and foot joints, but it can also develop in the larger joints like the hip, knees, and elbows.

Causes

  • Aging
  • Regular wear and tear
  • Trauma
  • Inflammatory disease

Symptoms

  • Inflammation of joints
  • Difficulty moving

Treatments

  • Non-surgical methods (medications, rest)
  • Physical therapy
  • Joint injections (knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, sacroiliac joint)
  • Platelet rich plasma
  • Viscosupplementation

Arthritis Treatments in Austin, Kyle, Dripping Springs

Most cases of arthritis can be treated with non-surgical methods. Temporary joint rest and pain relievers (over-the-counter or prescription) are sometimes all that are needed. If your symptoms do not improve significantly with these medications, a cortisone injection may be successful in reducing inflammation and pain.

Viscosupplementation injections are an option for arthritis, but are currently only FDA-approved for use in the knee. These injections deliver hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in synovial fluid, into the knee joint. Studies are underway to test its usefulness in other joints.

Greater Austin Pain Center works closely with occupational/physical therapists who can help you strengthen the muscles surrounding problem areas, adding joint stability and relieving pain. Aquatic therapy in a heated pool can potentially be recommended. Your therapists may also apply heat to treat stiffness, and ice to decrease pain. They may also recommend splints, walkers, or canes to help relieve stress on your joints. Therapists will instruct you on how to get through daily activities, such as housework and meal preparation, in a manner that puts less stress on your joints.

When administered by a trained professional, acupuncture can be a time-tested treatment for pain. Very fine needles are strategically placed around the body to block or interrupt pain pathways. Additionally, exercise regimes such as yoga, pilates, and tai chi can improve arthritis pain in many ways. Physically, the stretching and strengthening provided by these programs has a direct positive effect for many with arthritis.

Common Non-Surgical Arthritis Treatments

Greater Austin Pain Center specialists can discuss appropriate pain management options with you to decide what is best. There are several types of treatments for arthritis and joint pain, such as:

Viscosupplementation

Lubricating medication is injected into a joint, most commonly the knees.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

Non-operative therapy, injected into injured or painful area.

Steroid Injections

Injections to administer local anesthetic and/or steroids to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Woman at elevators in front of San Antonio Eye Specialists sign.

Am I At Risk?

If you have been consistently experiencing painful inflammation of the joints, please contact the Greater Austin Pain Center. We look forward to scheduling an appointment with you, or simply just answering your questions about arthritis. There are many treatment options, and we’ll make sure you’re set up with the right one.

Testimonials

"I am so relieved I could cry! Finally a pain specialist who listens, cares, and wants to help! Dr. Alan Silberberg has given me so much hope! As someone who has seen pain specialists for decades in different states, this is where you want to come. You NEED him in your life! My only regret is not coming in sooner."

Sarah Jean C.

"The staff is very friendly and I was seen on time. The intake process was seamless and efficient. Dr. Jarzombeck is always very kind and thorough in her explanations. These folks are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend Greater Austin Pain Center and Dr. Jarzombeck!"

Kim D.

"Everyone is always very nice and courteous. Dr. Julia is amazing! He is friendly, kind and caring and so easy to talk with.  All the office staff I have had contact with has always been courteous and kind as well. Would highly recommend coming here!"

Lesley C.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common types of arthritis?

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Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, in the US. Other common types of arthritis include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Fibromyalgia

Am I at risk for arthritis?

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There are certain factors that make it more or less likely that you will develop arthritis. While some factors cannot be controlled, there are treatments and lifestyle choices that can have a significant effect.

Common Risk Factors:

  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Infection
  • Joint Injuries
  • Your Occupation
  • Smoking

Can getting the flu complicate arthritis issues?

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Inflammatory arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can increase the likelihood of complications when you have the Flu.

Possible complications:

  • Bronchitis
  • Sinus infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infection

Inflammatory arthritis can increase vulnerability to flu-related complications because of a weakened immune system.

Can kids get arthritis?

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Yes, unfortunately, children can also suffer from arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, also known as childhood arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of arthritis for children.

Possible childhood arthritis symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Stiffness
  • Rash
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammation of the eyes

If your child is having difficulty with normal daily activities such as walking, playing, or dressing, they may be suffering from arthritis. Childhood arthritis can cause permanent damage to the affected joint or joints, making early detection and treatment crucial.

Is arthritis preventable?

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You can reduce your risk of getting some types of arthritis.

Risk factors that you can control:

  • Overweight and obesity
  • Joint injuries
  • Smoking

Lunch & Learn With Our Doctors

Curious about Spinal Cord and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation? Join our doctors for an in-person lunch and learn session to find out more about these treatments and ask any questions you may have. This event will be 12–1pm, sign up below to receive more details and RSVP.

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Treat Your Arthritis at Greater Austin Pain Center

If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort from arthritis in Austin, TX, reach out to Greater Austin Pain Center. Our arthritis specialists have experience in treating arthritis pain, and we’re ready to help provide you relief from your symptoms. For arthritis treatment in Austin, TX, and the surrounding areas, choose the Greater Austin Pain Center experts.

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