Diagnosis - Arthritis

Definition: 

Arthritis is a general term referring to a joint disorder affecting one or more joints. There are over 100 different types of Arthritis including: Degenerative Joint Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Psoriatic Arthritis, Stills disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, etc.

Classification:

Arthritis can be classified as: inflammatory (Rheumatoid), degenerative (Osteoarthritis) or metabolic (Gout).

Causes:

The most common form of Arthritis is Degenerative Joint Disease (also known as Osteoarthritis, Spondylosis, Osteoarthrosis, Degenerative Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Osteoarthrosis). 

Degenerative Joint Disease is the more accurate term, replacing Osteoarthritis, as Osteoarthritis indicates that it is an inflammatory arthritis which is incorrect.

Arthritis can be primary or secondary. Primary Osteoarthritis is idiopathic (no known cause). It is widely thought that this is caused by abnormal stresses on the joints which erodes the cartilage in a non-uniform fashion or normal stresses acting on "weakened" joints. Although aging does not cause arthritis, there is an association. Secondary Osteoarthritis results from chronic or sudden injuries to the joints such as: trauma, sporting injuries, repetitive stress injuries, poor posture, certain metabolic disorders (Gout) and many other factors.

Symptoms:

Degenerative joint disease can affect weight bearing joints such as: knees, hips, spine as well as other joints such as: hands, fingers, shoulders and fingers.

Symptoms include: morning stiffness - due to the joints being relatively immobile at night, pain - due to cartilage erosion, less fluid in the joint space, "bone-on-bone" contact, less flexibility - due to cartilage erosion and "popping and crackling" of the joints - due to uneven cartilage erosion.

Diagnosis:

A thorough history and physical exam can help distinguish between primary and secondary arthritis. However, X-ray, MRI or CT scan will provide a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment:

Medical treatment involves the use of medication called NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). There has been some concern in the recent years due to long term use of these medications which have been linked to: ulcers, liver and kidney failure and cardiovascular events (heart attacks). Since Arthritis is a chronic disease, unfortunately, lifetime medication usage is the primary mode of treatment.

Chiropractic treatment focuses on spinal manipulation of the involved joints. Careful manipulation of the involved joints can decrease pain and restore motion.

Generally, many patients benefit from light exercises and the self-application of heat.

At Peninsula Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, we offer a non-surgical, non-pharmacological, treatment and rehabilitation of degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease. Please call us today at (650) 347-2225 for an initial consultation.

Author
Dr. Rommel Hindocha, D.C. QME Dr. Rommel Hindocha, QME, is a licensed chiropractor and provides spine health and sports rehabilitation treatments to patients in the greater Burlingame, California, area. Dedicated to helping patients live pain-free lives, Dr. Hindocha continues to research and employ the latest proven treatment options for chronic and acute pain and is certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

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