Nearly 40 million Americans have arthritis, a long-term and incurable disease that causes pain and limits movement in joints. Dr. Chaula Patel in Bronx, New York, offers comprehensive services for patients experiencing joint pain, including determining the type of arthritis and the best treatment plan for each patient’s individual health.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and each one has different symptoms and requires its own treatment. However, all types of arthritis affect joints and cause pain, often severe pain. The top two types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, develops from normal wear-and-tear on the joints that cause cartilage to break down. As the protective cushion of cartilage is lost, bones in the joint can rub against one another. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease, in which tissues around the joint get inflamed and swollen, and eventually the joint can become deformed.
If you have osteoarthritis, you’ll feel pain in the affected joint during or after movement. The joint is often stiff, although that’s often more noticeable when you first wake up or after staying inactive. Osteoarthritis often leads to loss of flexibility and motion, and may cause a grating sensation that you can feel or hear when you use the joint. You’re more likely to develop osteoarthritis as you get older, if you’re overweight, or you’ve had a joint injury.
With rheumatoid arthritis, patients have some similar symptoms, such as tender and stiff joints. However, rheumatoid arthritis causes swollen joints, fatigue, fever, and sometimes weight loss. While it often begins in smaller joints, like your fingers and toes, it spreads to wrists, knees, ankles, hips, shoulders, and other joints in the body. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience symptoms throughout the body in places other than joints. Rheumatoid arthritis typically cycles between periods of flare-ups and remission.
Both types of arthritis are treated with medications to relieve pain, while patients with rheumatoid arthritis also need medications to alleviate inflammation and to slow down disease progression. Dr. Patel may recommend exercises or refer patients with arthritis to a physical therapist, because gentle activity can strengthen the joint, improve motion, and reduce pain.
Alternative therapies like tai chi and yoga can safely and effectively reduce arthritis pain and relieve stress. Dr. Patel also offers an integrative therapy — ozone prolotherapy — that may help relieve pain and promote growth of healthy tissues.