Arthritis back treatment
Image credit: @kittima05, Freepik
During the physical exam, doctors will check the joints for swelling, redness, and warmth. They will also want to look at your ability to move your joints.
Testing different body fluids can help identify the type of arthritis you have. Commonly tested fluids include blood, urine, and synovial fluid. To obtain a sample of synovial fluid, doctors will clean and numb the area before inserting a needle into the joint space to remove the fluid.
These tests can find problems within the joint that may be causing your symptoms. Examples include the following:
X-rays. X-rays, which use low radiation levels to visualize bone, can show cartilage loss, bone damage, and bone spurs. X-rays cannot reveal early arthritic damage but are often used to follow the course of the disease.
Computed tomography. CT scanners take x-rays from different angles and combine the information to create cross-sectional views of internal structures. For example, CT scans can visualize the bone and surrounding soft tissues.
Magnetic resonance imaging. MRI combines radio waves with a strong magnetic field and can produce more detailed cross-sectional images of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Ultrasound. This technology uses high-frequency sound waves to obtain images of soft tissues, cartilage, and fluid-containing structures near joints (bursae). Ultrasound is also used to guide the placement of needles to remove joint fluid or inject medications into the joint.
Many degenerative and chronic diseases can cause pain and worsen the quality of life of people who suffer from them. One of the most common is arthritis.
On World Arthritis Day, commemorated every October 12 at Pain Medicine in Valencia, experts in back pain want to talk to you about it. We tell you about its causes and risk factors, symptoms and effects, relationship with back pain, diagnosis, and treatment.
What is arthritis?
The word "arthritis" derives from the Greek word "Artrhos" (joint) and the suffix "-itis," which refers to inflammation. Therefore, arthritis is any situation in which pain, stiffness, and inflammation occur.
However, it is called osteoarthritis when arthritis affects a joint, such as those in the spine, knee, or hip. When osteoarthritis occurs in the lower back, back pain occurs.
The joints are covered by cartilage and synovial fluid. If the cartilage and synovial fluid deteriorate, their protective function is weakened, and the bones rub together, causing pain and inflammation.
This problem degenerates and amplifies, and recovery requires new bone to be produced (osteophytes, spurs), creating more friction.
Causes and risk factors of arthritis
This condition has various underlying causes, the most common being gradual wear of the cartilage, which can generate canal stenosis at the spine level, and pain in joints such as the knee or hip.
Some risk factors are as follows:
Female sex (more common in postmenopausal women).
Obesity and overweight, as greater pressure, must be endured.
Conditions such as diabetes and infections.
Family history of arthritis.
Jobs with repetitive movements.
Trauma or injuries in the area.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are:
Stiffness, a sensation of joint blockage.
Localized or penetrating pain at rest.
Numbness and/or tingling.
Lack of flexibility.
A sensation of compression or pinching.
Abnormal curvature of the spine.
Diagnosis and treatment of arthritis
The diagnosis of arthritis can be made through laboratory tests, such as blood, urine, and synovial fluid tests, and diagnostic imaging tests, with X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or ultrasounds.
Regarding the treatment of osteoarthritis, the first thing to look for is to eliminate the pressure on the nerves in the area, for example, by combating excess weight or reducing repetitive movements.
On the other hand, there is conservative treatment, consisting of physiotherapy to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and physical exercise to improve mobility.
To calm the discomfort, analgesic drugs and rest may also be prescribed, as well as image-guided infiltrations and therapies such as rhizolysis.
Treatment of arthritis in Pain Medicine in Valencia
The Pain Medicine team in Valencia comprises doctors, physiotherapists, physical trainers, psychologists, and nutritionists, focusing on back pain specifically from each discipline and offering effective treatments. In addition, we have the latest training and technology, and we provide innovative therapies such as Rhizolysis, TDCS, and TMS.