Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults and children are affected by some form of the disease. The term is also used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases responsible for pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. It can affect people of all ages, races and genders. There are a variety of forms of arthritis including Degenerative Arthritis, also called osteoarthritis. In this most common form of the disease the cushioning surface on the ends of bones wears away and the unprotected bone rubs against bone causing swelling, pain, and stiffness. Other forms include Inflammatory, Infectious, and Metabolic arthritis.
When a patient thinks they might have arthritis, the doctor performs a physical exam and may order blood tests and imaging scans to determine the specific kind of arthritis. The doctor will need the patient’s medical history and a summary of any medications. The physician may also request x-rays or imaging procedures like CAT scans or MRIs. Depending on the results of the tests, additional specialist care from a Rheumatologist or an Orthopedic surgeon may be needed to develop a thorough treatment plan.
There is no one size fits all approach to treating arthritis pain, due to the miscellany of forms of the disease and the variety in the patient experience. Depending on the patient’s needs, any number of short and long term treatments may be prescribed. Medications, such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, are often prescribed for daily use. The application of heat and/or cold, or the use of a TENS machine, may be suggested to reduce pain and swelling. The physician could also suggest using a splint or a brace to support the joint, allowing it to rest. Longer term relief can be managed through Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or Corticosteroids. Doctors also suggest that taking regular exercise may not only keep the joints mobile, but also losing weight can help with the symptoms.
We take Medicare and most of the major PPO and HMO insurance plans. Please call our office for more information.
Dr. William King is a great doctor who truly has a heart for his work. I truly appreciate his commitment to quality healthcare and the welfare of his patients.