Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints which may affect only one or many joints. It is a painful condition that happens with aging and generally affects women more than men. However, arthritis can also affect young adults or even children and teens. People living with arthritis experience pain and stiffness, swelling and a decreased range of motion in the affected joints. The pain might be moderate or severe and it might even come and go. Arthritic joints may be noticeable such as fingers with bulging joints. Severe arthritis can be debilitating with chronic pain reducing your ability to climb stairs or manage daily activities. Of the many types of arthritis or joint disease, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage, the tissue that covers the ends of bones at a joint, to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is a different condition in that the immune system begins to attack the joints. A treatment plan begins with a proper diagnosis and your PCA physician will work with you on the best option to alleviate arthritis pain.
Facet Joint Syndrome
Facet joints are positioned in the back and front of each vertebral segment, and they provide stability and support as you move in all directions. The facet joints can become worn out due to aging, trauma from accidents, or an abnormal posture. When pain originates from the facet joints, it is called “facet syndrome”. Inflamed facet joints become inflamed, which causes pain, stiffness, and soreness, often from a long period of sitting or standing too long. Based on the area of the spine where the inflamed facet joints are, the pain may be felt in the upper back at the base of the skull, neck, or shoulders and may also come with a headache. If the affected facet joints are in the middle part of the spine, pain is usually felt very close to the affected joint. If the lower back’s facet joints are affected, the pain is usually in the buttocks, hips, groin or thighs. Treatment options exist for facet joint syndrome, and your PCA physician will consult with you on the appropriate plan for your pain.
SI Joint Syndrome
SI Joint Syndrome is also called Sacroiliitis. Your sacroiliac joints are located where your hips connect to your spine and are key in supporting your back and also absorbing the impact of walking and lifting. The sacroiliac joints can wear down due to aging or may be affected due to an injury. SI joint syndrome is an inflammation of those joints and can cause pain in your lower back or buttocks and can travel down one or both of your legs. SI joint syndrome is similar to other painful conditions such as a herniated disc. If you stand for long periods of time, run or walk up stairs the pain can worsen and may be felt primarily when transitioning from sitting to standing, or vice versa. Sacroiliitis can be difficult to diagnose, because it can be mistaken for other causes of low back pain such as a herniated disc. Treatment might include medications and physical therapy or joint injections, which your PCA physician will discuss with you in a consultation. Other terms for SI joint pain include: SI joint dysfunction, SI joint syndrome, SI joint strain and SI joint inflammation.
Degenerative Joint Disease
Degenerative Joint Disease is also known as Osteoarthritis, the most common of arthritic conditions which causes inflammation in the joints due to cartilage breakdown. Osteoarthritis can occur in virtually any joint but is most common in hands, fingers and knees. Pain includes tenderness when pressure is applied, stiffness, inflammation and swelling. Advanced cases can cause disruption in daily activities or work.
Because this condition is related to the general wear and tear of the cartilage protecting the joints, aging is the most common cause of Osteoarthritis. Women over 50 are the most at risk. Osteoarthritis also can be brought on by accidents involving ligament injuries, dislocated joints, or torn cartilage. Your PCA physician will discuss symptom management during your consultation.