Woman holding her knee with her hands.Woman holding her knee with her hands.Woman holding her knee with her hands.Woman holding her knee with her hands.

Joint Pain: Is It Time For An Osteoarthritis Specialist?

If you are here, you’re probably feeling joint pain. You might not be sure of what it is, you can only describe it as an ache, but you can’t name it.

The good news is that, with this article, you’ll be able to get an idea of ​​what you have. And the best thing is that you’ll also find the best experts to treat it.

At Premier Pain Doctors, we have clinics specializing in pain management, and joint pain is no exception. We have experts in different areas, including specialists in pain relief caused by osteoarthritis. So, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment.

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Joint Pain: The Common Denominator

Joints connect the bones in your body; some of them are, for example, elbows, knees, wrists, neck, and hips. And if they hurt, there are three common causes for it:

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Injuries

A sprain or a strain could be the cause. Do you recall if you took a bad step at any point? And were you in excruciating pain because of that? Or maybe you felt discomfort at first, but it appeased after a time, and you kept doing what you were doing? That would indicate that you were injured.

Also, the excessive use of a joint or an old injury that never healed properly can cause this type of pain or tendinitis: an irritation of the tendons due to excessive use or a tear in the joint, like the one that occurs with “tennis elbow.”


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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It's a mechanical condition that results from the general use of the body; the cartilage wears down and no longer provides its protective role of preventing the bones from touching each other. And, if these come into contact, there will be pain.

This is natural wear and tear that comes with age. That’s why older people are more likely to suffer from it. However, it’s not exclusive to them: young adults can also have OA. And as a fact to consider, according to the National Library of Medicine,it’s more common in women than in men.

Also, it’s known that the risks of having osteoarthritis increase with being overweight or if relatives have also suffered from it (inherited factors).


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Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to the CDC, rheumatoid arthritis is one of more than100 types of arthritis. Unlike osteoarthritis, this one isn't caused by bones and cartilages wear and tear. It's an inflammation that causes the secretion of substances, generating a deterioration of the joints structures over time.

It could be caused by an infection or metabolic or genetic disorders. Rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to develop in those with an immunological issue or a chemical imbalance.

When there is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system gets confused and fights the healthy tissues, instead of the external agents or infections that can be dangerous to the body.


Man holding his wristMan holding his wristMan holding his wristMan holding his wrist
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How To Tell The Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis And Osteoarthritis?

In general, the difference depends on the moment and the situation in which the pain appears. If you feel that the pain increases when you move the joint and decreases when you leave it still, you most likely have osteoarthritis.

On the contrary, if you feel that the pain decreases when you move the joint and increases when you are at rest - for example, at night when you lie down to rest - there is a good possibility that it is rheumatoid arthritis.

Many patients who suffer from the latter often say that they feel warm near the affected joint, accompanied by swelling and redness.

Still not sure of what you might have? In general, the pain in osteoarthritis develops over time (we are talking about months and years). And it's unusual for it to produce symptoms of prolonged morning stiffness. It would be rare for it to cause fevers, weight loss, or warmth and discoloration in the joints. And usually, the pain is not felt symmetrically: if one wrist hurts and the other hurts too, but with a different intensity, it may be OA.

If you still have doubts, come to our clinics that can serve you as an osteoarthritis treatment center. Here we can check on you and tell you the cause of your pain and the best way to treat it.

Now, if you think you may be suffering from osteoarthritis, let's see what treatments might work for you.


Man smiling, holding a cane while seated.Man smiling, holding a cane while seated.
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Can Osteoarthritis Be Treated?

The first thing you should know is that there is no cure for OA. A mix of pharmaceutical and non-drug-based therapies can work to treat mild and moderate symptoms. Their objectives are to calm the pain, slow the progression of the disease, and enhance mobility and the quality of life.

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Medication

There are currently no medications that can slow or stop OA. That’s why nowadays, medicines focus on alleviating pain symptoms. Among them, you can find acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

We don't recommend narcotic medications as osteoarthritis is a chronic disease, which may open the possibility of drug resistance or addiction.

Although most pain relief medications, patches, and ointments are freely available on the market, we recommend that you purchase them under the guidance of a specialist or an osteoarthritis center.

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Supportive Devices

The purpose of assistive and supportive devices is to ease the stress on the damaged joint. Orthotic devices, insoles, canes, and walkers are among them.

Remember to use them under the supervision of a healthcare professional or your licensed healthcare provider.


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Exercise

Avoid strenuous, high-impact exercises. On the contrary, practice routines to improve flexibility, joint stability, and muscle strengthening. Swimming, water aerobics, and low-impact strength training are ideal.

These exercises have proven to reduce pain and the level of disability of those suffering from osteoarthritis.


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Weight Control

Obesity and being overweight increase your chances of developing OA. Therefore, losing weight can help you avoid it or improve your symptoms; you'll relieve stress on the joints that bear the brunt of the weight and help minimize inflammation.

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Surgery

When medical treatment fails to reduce OA pain and interferes with daily activities, surgery may be an option. Those with severe osteoarthritis are usually the only ones who need surgery. A variety of procedures, including minimally invasive joint replacement approaches, can be used.

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Radiofrequency Ablation

This treatment doesn't heal the joint's damage but focuses on providing the patient with relief from their pain by "burning" the nerves that send pain signals to the brain.

It’s a minimally invasive procedure that only requires local anesthesia. You can have it done in our doctors' offices, and it will have an effect that can last from six months to a year, depending on the patient. There are even cases where relief has lasted for years.

If a patient needs a joint replacement surgery but is unable or unwilling to undergo it, RFA is a very good option. Of course, keep in mind that it will give temporary relief since the nerves will regenerate over time and send pain signals back to the brain.

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Then, Yes! It’s Time To Call The Osteoarthritis Specialists!

If you are tired of suffering from joint pain, visit one of our clinics in and around NJ. Let us assess you and give you a complete diagnosis with the appropriate treatment for your particular case.

As you have noticed, joint pain and osteoarthritis have high complexity. But they can be treated. At our Premier Pain Management clinics, our experts strive to improve our patients' quality of life.

If you suffer from OA and don't know which osteoarthritis treatment center to visit, we can guide you. Don't wait and schedule an appointment.


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FAQs About Osteoarthritis

Which joints does osteoarthritis affect?


The most common joints affected are:

• Knees: This is one of the most common types of osteoarthritis. Pain, edema, and stiffness are common symptoms, as are difficulty walking and getting up after sitting.

• Hands: Women are more likely than males to get this kind of arthritis, especially after menopause. It's also very common among families.

• Ankles and feet: When patients with foot OA move their feet, they may hear noises. You may also experience discomfort and weakness.

• Spine: Back or neck pain and stiffness are symptoms of this kind of OA.

• Neck: This type of osteoarthritis is also known as cervical OA or cervical spondylosis. It causes discomfort, stiffness, headaches, and trouble moving.

• Hips: Pain and stiffness are common symptoms. These may be felt in your hips.


What additional osteoarthritis therapies are available?


• Joint injections: Your doctor may suggest this approach to relieve pain in the affected area in some circumstances. This procedure's effects can last several months.

• Regenerative medicine: Stem cells can develop into any kind of cell, including bone and cartilage cells. As a result, they can regenerate OA-affected tissues. This treatment also aids in the reduction of inflammation, which helps to reduce swelling and pain.


Can I repeat the RFA procedure to treat OA?


This method can be repeated as many times as necessary. Remember to talk to your doctor about how many radiofrequency ablations you should undergo based on your situation.