National Arthritis Awareness Month in May is meant to raise awareness about this condition. In fact, arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the U.S., affecting one in five adults and over a quarter of a million children nationally.

Arthritis takes many forms including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus and nearly 100 other kinds and their related diseases. Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are due to an autoimmune disorder. Although the immune system in a healthy body provides protection from disease and infection, with an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks healthy cells. This chronic inflammatory disorder can affect many joints, including the ones in the hands and feet, and typically in the same joints on both sides of the body.

Osteoarthritis can be caused from injury to the joints, resulting in a breakdown of cartilage tissue. This breakdown may cause joint pain and stiffness that progresses over time, while infectious arthritis is associated with infection and may include symptoms of fever, chills, joint inflammation, tenderness, and sharp pain.

A diagnosis is an important initial step toward successful treatment, and earlier diagnosis can result in living a longer and healthier life. Blood tests and x-rays can confirm a diagnosis in combination with a physical examination performed by a doctor, who can check for swollen joints or loss of motion.

Fortunately, there are many medications, therapies, and even surgeries to help reduce symptoms, slow the progression, and improve quality of life. When you have either joint pain that began after an injury, gradually progressive joint pain, or joint pain that is severe and interfering with function, it’s important to see an orthopedic doctor to determine the cause.

At Spine & Orthopedic Center, we understand that joint pain can affect the quality of your life. If you would like to find out how we can help you reduce your joint pain, please contact Spine & Orthopedic Center for an appointment today.