There are many different diseases that contribute to the 50 million American’s that experience chronic pain. One of the most common of those diseases is arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 54 million American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, though not all are chronic cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes arthritis as inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.
The five most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia and gout. All of these types of arthritis cause pain in different ways.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. With OA, the cartilage within the joints begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes with the joints usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling. Decreased range of motion or flexibility can also be present.
Osteoarthritis affects over 30 million US adults. Because of the symptoms that come with OA, some people experience reduced function and disability. Some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work because the pain and stiffness gets so bad.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected body parts. RA mainly attacks joints, and usually many joints at once.
RA commonly affects the joints of the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. The tissue damage from rheumatoid arthritis can cause chronic pain, unsteadiness, and deformity. RA can also end up affecting other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
There are many signs and symptoms of RA and there are times when symptoms “flare” up or get worse, and times when they get better. The common signs and symptoms include pain, aching, stiffness, tenderness, weight loss, fever, fatigue, and weakness. With some of the symptoms, like pain and stiffness, they can occur in more than one joint at a time.
Psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain. PsA affects the joints, the connective tissue where tendons or ligaments attach to bones, causing enthesitis, and affects the skin, which causes psoriasis.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional and mental distress. Often times, doctors who examine people with Fibromyalgia cannot find anything specifically wrong, even after a number of tests. Normally people with Fibromyalgia experience pain and tenderness all over their body and feeling consistently exhausted.
Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. Usually it affects one joint at a time (often times the big toe joint). People with Gout tend to experience flare ups and times when there are no symptoms. There is no cure for Gout, but it can be affectively managed. Symptoms in the affected joint may include pain, swelling, redness, and heat.
Another fairly common inflammatory pain condition is lupus. While lupus is not a form of arthritis, arthritis is one of the most common symptoms that lupus sufferers develop and the two are often mistaken for one another.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect many different parts of the body including the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, skin, and joints. The main feature of Lupus is inflammation, characterized by redness, heat, swelling, loss of function and pain outside or inside the body. Fatigue, hair loss, sensitivity to light, fever, rash and kidney problems are also some more severe symptoms in Lupus. There is no cure for Lupus, but there are treatments to help control its symptoms.
There are many more forms of arthritis that are paired with other symptoms than inflammation and swelling of the joints. One form of arthritis is not worse than others and can affect everyone differently. There are many ways to help relieve some of the pain and inflammation that is associated with arthritis. At Twin Cities Pain Clinic, we are proud to offer a wide array of procedures to manage pain and tailor each patient based on their own symptoms.