Not only is osteoarthritis the most common kind of arthritis, it’s also the most common type of all chronic joint conditions, and Dr. Nikesh Seth specializes in safe, long-term treatment options. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is sometimes called degenerative arthritis or degenerative disease. It affects 27 million people in the US, and can happen at any joint. However, it’s more commonly diagnosed in joints that take a lot of wear and tear like the hips, knees, those in the neck, lower back, fingers, and toes.
A healthy joint has a hearty cartilage covering both ends of the bone. This rubbery cartilage helps ease impacts and prevents the bones from grinding against one another. However, this natural cushion breaks down over time, which leads to trouble moving the joint, pain, and swelling. OA progresses over time, and eventually, bones can develop spurs as a product of the constant remodeling. Pieces of bone or cartilage can break away and hover near the joint, causing additional pain.
OA can lead to cytokines (a type of protein) and enzymes developing through an inflammatory process that exacerbates cartilage damage. In late-stage OA, cartilage can wear away completely, allowing bones to rub directly against one another. Anyone can suffer from OA, though it’s most common in those 65+. Advancing age, overusing the joint, obesity, weak muscles, and simple genetics are all contributing factors. Half of all adults will develop knee OA pain symptoms in their life, and 25 percent of adults will suffer from hip OA pain symptoms by the time they are 85 years old.
Although medication management can be part of treating OA pain for some patients, it’s important to consider alternative therapies. Medication management for chronic conditions like OA can be dangerous since some prescriptions (like opioids) are addictive and best reserved for treating short-term pain. For many, better solutions may include joint injections, spinal cord stimulation, or a variety of other techniques. Call Dr. Nikesh Seth and Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 to schedule your arthritis pain consultation.