Arthritis occurs when the cartilage around your joints starts to degenerate. Patients most commonly experience two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
As people age, it’s common for the cartilage that cushions their joints to wear down. When this happens, joint movement becomes painful, and patients may lose mobility. This wearing down of cartilage and the associated inflammation is known as osteoarthritis. It’s most common in the spine, hips, knees, and hands, but it can affect any joint in your body.
Unlike osteoarthritis, which results from joint wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly starts to attack healthy joint tissue. The joints become inflamed, swollen, and painful, and many patients seek chronic pain treatment for flare-ups in which pain becomes unexpectedly worse for a certain period of time.
Many patients experience a sensation of warmth in their joints with rheumatoid arthritis, and they note that if a joint on one side of the body becomes inflamed — for example, a wrist joint — the same join becomes inflamed on the other side of the body. In addition to joint pain, many patients experience fatigue, fever, dry eyes and mouth, and loss of appetite. They may also notice nodules on their joints, and damage to their tendons and ligaments can cause joints to become twisted and deformed.
Osteoarthritis is often progressive and has no known cure, but patients can still live an active and enjoyable lifestyle with chronic pain treatment. This is particularly true if they manage their weight and stay active as they age.
Rheumatoid arthritis requires controlling the immune response and preventing damage to the joints and internal organs. Pain specialists will work closely with your rheumatologist, both for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, to collaborate and find the best available chronic pain treatment plan for you.