Arthritis or joint inflammation comes in more than 100 different types and affects over 54 million Americans. Mild cases cause occasional joint pain and stiffness, but about 25% of people with arthritis experience severe pain and limited mobility that affects their work and leisure activities.
NEIL GHODADRA, M.D. specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of arthritis. Our patients throughout West Los Angeles, California, trust Dr. Ghodadra and his team to ease their symptoms and treat their underlying conditions. While arthritis is a long-term, incurable condition, Dr. Ghodadra offers effective treatments based on the latest research and technology.
Here’s a closer look at four types of arthritis — and how we treat them.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the wear and tear of a lifetime of use degrade the protective cartilage in your joints and break down the lubricating fluid. Eventually, your bones end up rubbing against one another, causing pain, stiffness, and the development of bone spurs, or small outgrowths of bone tissue.
You can develop OA in any joint, but knees, hands, and hips are the most common places. You can even get OA in your spine.
Most cases of OA respond well to over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen.
Hot therapy can ease your discomfort and increase blood flow to your affected joint; cold therapy can help keep inflammation in check.
Topical rubs may also relieve mild pain and stiffness.
Physical therapy keeps your joints moving and mobile.
Dr. Ghodadra advises you to rest during an acute flare-up and modify your activities to accommodate painful periods. Staying sedentary for too long, however, can exacerbate your symptoms. While it may be tempting to stay stationary to avoid pain, movement is the best medicine for OA. Physical therapy teaches you safe and effective stretches and exercises to treat OA.
Two types of regenerative medicine — platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) — may reduce your pain, improve your joint function, slow OA’s progression, and even repair some of the damage.
Unlike OA, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has nothing to do with wear and tear; rather, it’s an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack its own healthy tissues. Specifically, RA attacks the lining in your joints called the synovium.
Another difference between OA and RA is that OA occurs in middle-aged and older adults, and RA affects people of all ages, including children. RA can also affect any joint, but it typically attacks them in pairs: both knees, for example. Affected joints often appear red, swollen, and warm to the touch. RA can also affect your eyes and internal organs.
RA treatment aims to slow the progression, manage inflammation, and prevent joint deformity. Dr. Ghodadra may prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or biologicals to prevent RA from advancing too quickly.
Physical therapy can keep your joints moving more freely, and PRP and BMAC may help stem the progression.
While OA develops over many years, post-traumatic arthritis crops up quickly after an injury like a joint dislocation or bone fracture. If your injury leads to joint inflammation, it may result in temporary post-traumatic arthritis, but it can easily become chronic and transition into OA. In fact, you’re seven times more likely to develop OA in your joint after you’ve injured it than you would be if you’d never been injured.
Physical therapy is a critical part of post-traumatic arthritis to maintain flexibility and reduce inflammation; OTC NSAIDs can relieve mild pain.
Dr. Ghodadra may also provide a splint or brace for your injured joint to reduce the tension and hold it stable as it heals.
Rotator cuff tear arthropathy describes a unique combination of post-traumatic arthritis and OA. It occurs after a rotator cuff tear injury in your shoulder that goes untreated and develops osteoarthritis.
When you tear your rotator cuff, a group of four tendons that hold your shoulder joint in place, your shoulder can’t function normally. The bones no longer have a tight connection, so they slide around within the joint and wear down the cartilage.
Anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy can address your shoulder pain symptoms, but chances are you’ll need shoulder replacement surgery to repair the damage and restabilize your joint.
In fact, surgery is an option for any type of arthritis that doesn’t respond to more conservative treatments and causes severe pain and immobility.
Dr. Ghodadra is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, fellowship-trained in shoulder and sports medicine surgery, trusted by professional organizations including the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Socks.
To talk with Dr. Ghodadra about your arthritic joints, contact us in West Los Angeles, California, at 310-929-4787.