Interventional Pain Management & Neurosurgeon located in Fort Smith, AR
The most likely cause of chronic joint pain is arthritis. If you're experiencing a constant or frequently recurring pain and stiffness in your joints, board-certified neurosurgeon Tim Maryanov, MD, and his team at Fort Neuro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, can help. Arthritis is incurable, but Dr. Maryanov and his team provide effective treatments for reducing joint pain and improving mobility, including joint injections and radiofrequency ablation. Call Fort Neuro today to schedule a consultation, or use the online booking tool to arrange your appointment.
What is arthritis?
There are many forms of arthritis, all of which cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness in your joints. Some types affect specific joints, while others affect multiple joints.
One type of arthritis causes the majority of cases. Osteoarthritis affects older people, typically starting in late middle age and progressively worsening over time. This is the type of arthritis that results, among other symptoms, in twisting and distortion of your fingers and makes it hard to get up from a chair.
Osteoarthritis is a result of the years of wear-and-tear on your joints. Protective coatings of cartilage on the ends of your bones erode bit by bit, eventually exposing the bones and allowing them to rub against each other. The friction this creates causes inflammation and results in pain and stiffness.
If you damage the joints, you could develop a form of osteoarthritis called post-traumatic arthritis. Other types of arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Septic arthritis
Arthritis is also a complication of autoimmune diseases like lupus and Sjögren's syndrome.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
The symptoms of osteoarthritis are usually a clear indication that you have this disease. However, it's important to rule out other possible causes and check for underlying conditions. Arthritic symptoms could also require diagnostic testing to confirm the type of arthritis.
Tests you might need include:
- Blood tests
- Joint fluid test
- CT (computed tomography) scan
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
Determining the type of arthritis you have and the extent of any joint damage enables the Fort Neuro team to create an appropriate treatment plan for you.
How is arthritis treated?
Currently, there isn't a cure for arthritis, but most patients find that conservative approaches to treatment provide effective relief from their symptoms. Some of the treatments that could be in your plan include:
- Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- NSAID creams or gels
- Capsaicin or menthol creams
- Physical therapy
- Splints or braces
- Massage therapy
- Hyaluronic acid joint injections
- Steroid injections into the joint
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
You can also contribute significantly to relieving your arthritis symptoms by making changes in your life to promote better health.
Being overweight or obese, for instance, puts tremendous pressure on your joints, so weight loss is vital. Other issues like smoking, chronic stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise also make arthritis worse.
What can I do if my arthritis doesn't improve?
If you aren't getting relief from a conservative treatment plan, or your arthritis reaches a stage where your current treatment is no longer effective, you might need to consider joint replacement surgery. Before taking this step, talk to the Fort Neuro team about radiofrequency ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radio wave energy to temporarily deactivate the nerve endings in the affected joints. The Fort Neuro team uses radiofrequency ablation to treat arthritis in your knees and the facet joints in your spine.
To find out more about effective, nonsurgical treatments for arthritis, call Fort Neuro today or book an appointment online.