What’s Causing Your Arthritis?

What’s Causing Your Arthritis?

Arthritis is a group of painful joint conditions that cause swelling and stiffness in joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and they affect nearly 60 million Americans. Living with arthritis has its challenges, but with the help of a dedicated health care team, you can effectively manage arthritis pain and live your life to the fullest.

Stuart Hough, MD, and Ramani Peruvemba, MD, of Pain Management Specialists in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland, know the impact arthritis pain can have on your life. From missing out on family and social functions to scaling back daily activities, arthritis pain can drastically change how you live. 

Our team specializes in managing chronic pain, and we can help you get relief. The more you know about arthritis, the better equipped you’ll be to play a collaborative role in your care. Read on to learn more about the most common types of arthritis and their causes.

How your joints work

A joint is formed when two or more bones come together. Joints hold bones together and allow them to move freely within certain limits.

Most of our joints are surrounded by a strong capsule. The capsule is filled with a thick fluid that aids in joint lubrication. These capsules help to keep our bones in place. They accomplish this with the assistance of strong elastic bands called ligaments.

Cartilage lines the ends of the bones within a joint. Cartilage is a smooth but tough layer of tissue that allows bones to glide over one another while moving. It’s this cartilage and lubricating fluid that makes it possible for you to walk, bend, run, jump, and go about your day without pain.

In some people, joint cartilage breaks down from injury, age-related wear, or damage due to the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. The result is a joint with bones that lack proper cushioning and consequently rub together when you move. Inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness are all common with arthritis.

Most common types of arthritis and their causes

It’s important to know the type of arthritis you have, as it will guide treatment. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis. Here is more about these two types and their causes. 

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the tissues in the joint to wear out over time. It’s the most common type of arthritis and is more prevalent in older adults.

This type of arthritis is characterized by joint pain and stiffness that tends to occur after rest or inactivity. The following joints are the most commonly affected:

Osteoarthritis tends to worsen over time, causing chronic pain that can make daily tasks difficult.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease. It differs from other types of arthritis in that it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and damages joints. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may experience pain and inflammation in your:

In addition to managing pain, managing rheumatoid arthritis often involves lifestyle changes and working with a rheumatologist to manage the immune system. 

If you're struggling with arthritis pain, we can give you a thorough evaluation and design a treatment plan to help you live well again. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Pain Management Specialists today.

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