Degenerative Joint Disease

Our joints absorb significant amounts of our bodies’ weight and are put under strain as we go about our day-to-day activities. Over time, the cartilage in our joints can begin to break down. Treatments can slow degeneration, prevent pain, and keep you moving.

What is Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis)?

Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is a common chronic condition that affects the joints, particularly those that bear weight and are subjected to repetitive movements. It is the most prevalent form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joints begins to wear down over time. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bones may start to rub against each other, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced joint flexibility.

Key Features of Degenerative Joint Disease:

  • Cartilage Breakdown: In a healthy joint, cartilage acts as a cushion, allowing smooth and painless movement. In degenerative joint disease, the cartilage gradually thins and wears away, leading to joint damage.
  • Bone Spurs: As a response to the loss of cartilage, the body may form bone spurs, small bony projections, around the affected joint. Bone spurs can contribute to pain and further joint damage.
  • Joint Inflammation: As the cartilage wears down, the body's inflammatory response may cause swelling and tenderness in the affected joint.
  • Joint Stiffness: Reduced joint flexibility and stiffness are common symptoms, particularly after periods of rest or inactivity.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Individuals with degenerative joint disease often experience pain, which can range from mild to severe, and is typically aggravated by movement or weight-bearing activities.
  • Limited Range of Motion: As the condition progresses, joint function may be impaired, leading to difficulty in fully moving the joint through its normal range of motion.
  • Commonly Affected Joints: Degenerative joint disease most commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, as well as the hands and fingers.

Causes and Risk Factors:

The exact cause of degenerative joint disease is multifactorial and may involve a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Some common risk factors include:

  • Age: As we age, the risk of developing osteoarthritis increases.
  • Joint Overuse: Repetitive stress on joints from certain occupations or sports activities can contribute to cartilage breakdown.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on joints, accelerating cartilage deterioration.
  • Genetics: Family history may play a role in predisposing individuals to degenerative joint disease.
  • Joint Injuries: Previous joint injuries or trauma can increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in that joint.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, especially in the hands and knees.

Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disease:

The symptoms of degenerative joint disease can vary depending on the affected joint(s). Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Joint Pain: Persistent pain in the affected joint(s), which may worsen with movement.
  • Stiffness: Reduced joint flexibility and stiffness, especially after periods of inactivity.
  • Swelling: Swelling or tenderness around the affected joint(s).
  • Grating Sensation: A grating or crackling sound (crepitus) during joint movement.
  • Decreased Range of Motion: Difficulty fully moving the joint through its normal range of motion.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Diagnosing degenerative joint disease typically involves a combination of medical history review, physical examination, and imaging tests such as X-rays and MRI scans. Our skilled team of pain management specialists will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Treatment options may include:

  • Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises and stretches to strengthen muscles and improve joint function.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Weight management, activity modification, and joint protection strategies.
  • Joint Supplements: Certain supplements may help support joint health and reduce symptoms.
  • Assistive Devices: The use of braces or assistive devices to support and protect affected joints.

Why Choose RelievUS Pain Management?

At RelievUS Pain Management, we are dedicated to improving your joint health and overall well-being. Our experienced team of specialists will provide you with compassionate care, advanced treatment options, and personalized solutions for managing degenerative joint disease. We are committed to helping you regain mobility, reduce pain, and enhance your quality of life.

Take the First Step Towards Joint Health:

If you are experiencing joint pain, stiffness, or other symptoms related to degenerative joint disease, don't wait to seek relief. Schedule a consultation with us today to explore your treatment options and embark on the path to improved joint health. Contact us to book your appointment and let us help you find relief from degenerative joint disease.

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