Are you experiencing pain in your joints? Whether joint pain has been a part of your life for a while or is a fairly new experience for you, you should understand why that pain exists. One of the common causes of joint pain is osteoarthritis.
At Houston Pain Specialists, we provide many of our patients with comprehensive joint pain care for pain caused by osteoarthritis. Our team is led by Hui Kang, MD, a board-certified pain management specialist and anesthesiologist.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects millions of people around the world, making it the most common form of arthritis. It’s a chronic joint condition that negatively impacts the protective cartilage found at the ends of your bones, causing it to wear down over time and leading to your bones rubbing against one another. That’s why osteoarthritis is so painful.
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint within your body, but is most commonly found within your:
- Neck joints
What causes osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is most typically the result of aging. As you get older, the cartilage in your joints becomes more susceptible to damage and wear because the protein in your cartilage degenerates and water content increases.
Repetitive and overuse of your joints can also lead to osteoarthritis. There are some implications that osteoarthritis is hereditary, so if you have family members who suffer from it, you may be at risk.
How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis can be difficult to diagnose until symptoms, such as pain and debilitating symptoms, begin showing.
Typically, Dr. Kang begins a diagnosis through a comprehensive evaluation of the joint or joints that are bothering you. He asks about pain and tenderness in certain areas and looks for swelling, redness, and flexibility.
In order to get a more in-depth look at your joint, Dr. Kang may also order an X-ray or MRI to assist with the diagnosis.
How is osteoarthritis treated?
While there’s no cure for osteoarthritis, there are various ways to treat the disease. The main goal of osteoarthritis treatments is to reduce pain and improve joint function, such as flexibility.
Treatment for osteoarthritis can vary depending on your specific case, but typically includes a combination of:
- Exercise and weight loss
- Heat and cold therapy
- Prescription and over-the-counter medication
- Natural supplements, such as fish oil and green tea
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Cortisone injections
Based on your evaluation and overall health, Dr. Kang recommends the ideal combination of treatments for your osteoarthritis.
If you’re suffering from joint pain and think osteoarthritis could be the cause, call us today or send us a message online for a consultation with Dr. Kang at our Houston, Texas, office.