Did you know that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects about 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 60? While it’s often thought of as a normal part of aging, this condition can be debilitating and impact an individual’s quality of life. At RightPath Pain & Spine Center in Davenport, FL, we understand the challenges of managing arthritis and offer a range of treatment options to help stop its progression.
How Can You Stop Osteoarthritis from Progressing?
Living with arthritis is hard, but you can take certain steps to prevent your pain from becoming worse. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, staying physically active with low-impact exercises, and using assistive devices can improve your joint function.
It’s also important to prioritize your mental health, get support from your community, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, regenerative medicine treatments such as platelet-rich plasma injections can offer long-term relief for those with arthritis. With the right combination of lifestyle changes, treatments, and support, you can take control of your condition and enjoy a better quality of life.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is important for managing arthritis. Excess weight puts stress on the joints, which causes increased wear and tear and contributes to pain and inflammation. Losing even a small amount of weight can reduce your arthritis symptoms and improve the function of your joints. To achieve a normal weight, focus on healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Additionally, mental health and social support are essential. Starting a weight loss journey can be challenging, and having a supportive community helps you to stay motivated and on track. Make sure to practice self-care. This includes engaging in activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress, such as meditation or yoga. Get enough sleep, so your body can effectively repair broken tissues.
Regular physical activity reduces stiffness, improves flexibility, and increases strength. However, it’s important to choose exercises that are low-impact and gentle on the joints. Swimming, cycling, or walking are great options for patients with arthritis. These exercises improve cardiovascular health and muscle strength without putting too much stress on the joints.
Yoga and tai chi are also excellent options, as they improve flexibility and balance while promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Before starting any exercise program, consult with us at RightPath to determine the best plan for your individual needs and limitations. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity levels to avoid injury and prevent overexertion.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Certain foods reduce inflammation and joint pain, while others exacerbate your symptoms. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, improve joint health and are therefore a great choice. Additionally, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins contain essential nutrients.
On the other hand, foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, and sugar increase inflammation and worsen arthritis symptoms. Avoid processed foods and fast food because they often contain high amounts of these unhealthy ingredients. Creating and sticking to a good diet plan can be challenging, but starting with small changes can make a big difference. Plan your meals ahead of time, cook at home, and avoid processed foods.
Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Consumption
As a leading pain and spine center, we always remind our patients of the negative effects that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can have on the body. Smoking worsens inflammation and damages the tissues that support and protect the joints, leading to more pain and stiffness. It also decreases bone density, which can increase the risk of fractures and other injuries.
Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to joint pain and causes inflammation. It can interfere with the absorption of nutrients that are important for joint health, such as calcium and vitamin D. To protect your joints and reduce osteoarthritis symptoms, avoid nicotine and excessive alcohol consumption. If you need help quitting smoking or reducing alcohol intake, ask us for support and guidance.
Use Assistive Devices
Assistive devices are designed to support and protect the joints. Examples include braces, splints, and compression sleeves, which can provide some much-needed stability. Canes, walkers, and crutches reduce the weight placed on the joints, especially during activities like walking or standing for long periods.
In addition to these devices, many other tools and gadgets make daily activities easier and less painful. For example, jar openers, reachers, and dressing aids reduce strain on the hands and wrists, while cushioned handles can make gripping objects more comfortable. If you’re experiencing arthritis-related pain or mobility issues, talk to us about the assistive devices that may be right for you.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
At RightPath Pain & Spine Center, we offer platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections as a treatment option for arthritis. PRP is a kind of regenerative medicine that involves delivering a concentrated solution of platelets from your own blood to the affected joint. Platelets contain growth factors that stimulate healing in the joint, reducing pain and inflammation.
During the session, a small sample of your blood is taken and processed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the other components of the blood. The PRP is then injected directly into the treatment area. The number of sessions required varies depending on the severity of your arthritis and your response to treatment. Typically, patients receive a series of injections over several weeks or months. The results often last for a year or more.
Why Does Arthritis Occur?
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints wears away over time. Cartilage is a soft, rubbery material that covers the ends of bones and allows them to move smoothly against each other. When it wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Arthritis can affect anyone, but it is most common in older adults. Other factors that increase your risk of developing this condition include a family history of arthritis, being overweight, or having a previous joint injury. While we can’t always prevent arthritis from happening, making healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce your risk.
How to Manage Pain Related to Arthritis
If the above-named ways of reducing your symptoms aren’t enough, you may need steroid treatment. Steroids are a type of hormone that your body makes naturally. When they are injected into a painful joint, they can reduce inflammation.
The good news is that steroid injections are minimally invasive, which means that they don’t require surgery or general anesthesia. Instead, we use a small needle to inject the medicine directly into the joint. You won’t feel discomfort because we numb the treatment site with a topical cream before we begin.
Joint Replacement or Fusion
While arthritis can often be managed with minimally invasive treatments, surgery is sometimes necessary. There are two commonly used types of operations: joint replacement and joint fusion. Joint replacement involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with a new one made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. Joint fusion, on the other hand, involves fusing two bones together so that they no longer move independently.
These surgeries are necessary if your pain and stiffness become too severe to be managed with other treatments. For example, we might recommend joint replacement if the joint is so damaged that you can’t move it without experiencing a lot of pain. Joint fusion might be suitable if the joint is too unstable or if there is too much damage to the surrounding tissue. These operations are often the best option for regaining mobility and reducing pain.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience any symptoms of arthritis, such as pain, stiffness, swelling, or decreased range of motion in your joints, call us. These issues can be caused by many different conditions, and it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
You should also see a doctor if you have intense pain or swelling that doesn’t go away after a few days, redness or warmth in the joint, fever, or chills. At RightPath Pain & Spine Center, we can help diagnose and treat a variety of joint conditions, including arthritis. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any concerns about your joint health.
Keep Arthritis in Control
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. Fortunately, there are many ways of preventing its progression and managing the pain associated with this degenerative condition. Get in touch with us at RightPath Pain & Spine Center in Davenport, FL to learn more about PRP injections, steroid injections, and other pain management solutions.