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THE PAIN CENTER SAN DIEGO BLOG

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10Nov

Your Guide to Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis affects millions of individuals all over the world. It's the most common type of arthritis and often suspected in hip conditions. According to the CDC, osteoarthritis affects more than 32.5 million people in the United States alone.

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the flexible tissue found at the ends of your bones begins wearing down. It's often called a "degenerative joint disease." It's more common in your hips, hands, and knees.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the result of your cartilage slowly deteriorating. This is the cartilage that cushions the ends of your joint bones. Once the cartilage wears down, you'll have bone rubbing on bone.

What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis?

Certain risk factors could increase your osteoarthritis risk, including:

  • Becoming older: Your risk will increase as you get older.
  • Being obese: Obesity can contribute to osteoarthritis, and your risk increases the more you weigh, adding stress to your knees, hips, and other weight-bearing joints.
  • Repeated joint stress: If you're placing repetitive stress on your joints from work or perhaps a sport you play, this could eventually lead to developing osteoarthritis.
  • Joint injuries: Your risk of osteoarthritis can also increase if you sustain a joint injury, an accident, or sport.
  • Bone deformities: Certain individuals are born with certain bone deformities that can lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics: Certain individuals can inherit the likelihood of developing the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

Instead of showing up suddenly, OA symptoms often slowly build up over time. Symptoms include:

  • Joint aching or pain after prolonged activity, during activity, or at the end of the day
  • Limited range of motion that might dissipate after movement
  • Joint stiffness typically occurring after resting or first thing in the morning.
  • Weakness of the muscle around the joint
  • Swelling around the joint
  • Joint buckling (knee gives out) or joint instability
  • Cracking or clicking sound when you bend a joint

Complications of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can become worse over time because it's a degenerative disease. This typically leads to chronic pain and stiffness, and pain in the joints can become severe enough to make it hard for you to perform daily tasks.

A couple of other potential complications are sleep problems and depression because of the disability and pain the disease causes.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis

Before being referred to an orthopedic surgeon, your primary doctor will perform a physical examination to check your affected joint for redness, swelling, flexibility, and tenderness.

They will likely order some imaging tests to gather images of the affected joint. These imaging tests may include:

  • X-Rays: While cartilage won't show up on X-rays, the X-rays do reveal any cartilage loss. The space between your joint bones will show narrowing. An X-ray will also detect any bone spurs around your joint.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A strong magnetic field and radio waves are used in an MRI to generate detailed images of soft tissues, bone, and even cartilage. Typically, an MRI isn't required for diagnosing osteoarthritis, but it helps gather information in more complicated cases.

Testing

  • Lab Tests: The doctor may also order some lab tests to analyze your joint fluid or blood to help confirm the diagnosis.
  • Blood Tests: They might order some blood tests to not test for OA but rather rule out other causes behind your joint pain, like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Joint Fluid Analysis: Using a needle, they may draw fluid from the affected joint to test for inflammation and see if another condition is causing your pain, like an infection or gout.

Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis doesn't have a cure. Therefore, pain doctors will typically treat the symptoms by combining different therapies, which might include:

  • Weight loss
  • Physical therapy with exercises for muscle strengthening
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Supportive devices like canes or crutches
  • Medicines, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Surgery (if other options of treatment aren't effective)

Along with these treatments, self-management strategies such as heat and cold, movement therapies (Tai Chi and yoga), or shoe inserts might also help reduce disability and pain. Of course, you'll want to discuss any home remedies with your doctor before trying.

Your guide to Osteoarthritis pain management and treatment from the pain center san diego

Preventing Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by you using your joints daily, and the older you get, the more wear and tear that occurs. While you can't completely prevent osteoarthritis, you could help reduce the stress you add to your joints daily. Some things you can try doing to help prevent joint issues are:

  • Be active daily
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Prevent joint injury
  • Control your blood sugar

Contact The Pain Center San Diego for Help with Osteoarthritis Pain

Being able to cope despite the disability and pain OA causes will determine how much OA will impact your life. Contact us at The Pain Center San Diego for an appointment to determine if you are suffering from OA and set up a proper treatment plan.

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CONTACT THE PAIN CENTER SAN DIEGO

Our entire practice revolves around helping patients feel better. Pain is a fact of life until it interferes with the joys of living. Sandra Thompson, MD, and The Pain Center San Diego have innovative and comprehensive solutions to all forms of discomfort.

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Phone Number:

San Diego Fax: (858) 437-6702

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Address:

4033 3rd Avenue, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92103

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Tuesday 8am - 5pm
Wednesday: 8am - 5pm
Thursday: 8am - 5pm
Friday: 8am - 5pm
ABOUT THE PAIN CENTER SAN DIEGO

We are a group of pain management experts dedicated to helping patients live life better.

Dr. Thompson believes that life is to be enjoyed and that every effort should be made to minimize or eliminate pain. She offers a wide range of pain management alternatives.

 MEET DR. SANDRA THOMPSON

PAIN MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS

Premier back pain treatments that will help reduce, relieve and improve your overall quality of life. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of service and results.

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LOCATED IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO

San Diego Phone: (619) 578-3740

San Diego Fax: (858) 437-6702

Our Location:

  • 4033 3rd Avenue, Suite 200 San Diego, CA 92103