Arthritis is a very common health problem for both men and women in the United States. How common? The CDC says about a quarter of adults in the US — roughly 60 million Americans — have been diagnosed with arthritis. That doesn’t even count the women and men who suffer from arthritis symptoms, but haven't (yet) been diagnosed with the disease.
Nina Sandhu, DO is a skilled pain management specialist with extensive experience helping patients at Magnolia Pain Associates learn safe, effective ways to manage their arthritis and relieve their painful symptoms.
Arthritis in a nutshell
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease associated with painful inflammation inside your joints. There are different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, gout, and septic arthritis.
Although the underlying cause of each type varies, all types of arthritis cause joint degeneration, inflammation, and pain. Without treatment, many people go on to develop joint deformity and a loss of function in their affected joints.
Most people think of arthritis affecting the knees and hands, but actually, arthritis can affect any joint, including the joints in your spine. In fact, arthritis is a relatively common cause of back pain and neck pain as we age.
7 tips for living with arthritis
Just because arthritis is common, that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. These tips can help.
#1: Lose excess weight
Your hips, knees, and lower back support your body weight, so it makes sense that losing those extra pounds can help relieve the strain on sore joints. Less joint pressure also reduces wear-and-tear on the joint surfaces, a primary cause of arthritis-related inflammation.
#2: Quit smoking
Smoking impairs circulation, reducing healthy blood flow to your joints and connective tissue. Make quitting a priority to improve your joint health and your overall health, too.
#3: Stay active
When your joints are sore, the last thing you want to do is move them. But mild exercise can be very effective for preventing joint stiffness and improving circulation, which in turn can aid in reducing inflammation.
#4: Change up your routines
Repetitive activities increase wear-and-tear on joint surfaces. Even small changes in how you perform repetitive activities can lead to reduced discomfort and decreased inflammation, too.
#5: Practice good posture
Believe it or not, Mom was right when she told you to sit up straight. Poor posture strains joints in your back, neck, and legs, making arthritis symptoms even more painful and potentially hastening joint wear-and-tear.
#6: Use assistive devices
Canes, foam utensil grips, knee and wrist braces — today, there are plenty of options to reduce arthritis pain without messing up your daily routine. Dr. Sandhu can make recommendations based on your symptoms and activities.
#7: Join a support group
Arthritis has a lot of physical symptoms, but pain and decreased mobility can take a toll on your emotional health, too. Arthritis support groups help you connect with other people who are going through the same experiences, and they can also help you learn new ways of managing your symptoms.
With Dr. Sandhu, every aspect of your treatment will be customized for your needs, including suggestions for lifestyle changes and habits.
Arthritis treatment options
Researchers are still learning about the “mechanisms” of arthritis. In addition to the tips and lifestyle changes listed above, advances in arthritis treatments are helping women and men manage their symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and enjoy more active, more satisfying lives.
At Magnolia Pain Associates, Dr. Sandhu offers several medical treatments for arthritis. Most people benefit from a combination of therapies, including options like:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory and pain medications
- Joint injections
While treatments vary depending on each patient’s symptoms and needs (as well as the type of arthritis they have), one thing remains the same: Early treatment is the key to slowing disease progression, limiting joint damage, and restoring mobility.
Find relief for your arthritis symptoms
Contrary to popular belief, aches and pains are not a “normal” part of aging. If you notice joint swelling, pain, or stiffness, don’t ignore your symptoms. Book an appointment online or over the phone at our office locations in Plano, Corsicana, or Dallas, Texas, and learn how Dr. Sandhu can help you manage your symptoms and lead your healthiest life.