Osteoarthritis is a very common form of arthritis that affects millions of adults around the world. It impacts the joints, usually the knees, but also sometimes the shoulders, hips, and spine. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that is found at the ends of bones has worn down over time, typically due to aging. Although this damage cannot be reversed, the symptoms of osteoarthritis are fortunately very manageable.
Types of Osteoarthritis
There are a few different types of osteoarthritis, which are categorized in terms of where the joint damage has occurred.
Knee osteoarthritis is the most common form of the condition. With use over time, the cartilage in the knee joint can wear away gradually. Instead of being smooth, it becomes rough, frayed, and thinner, so the protective space between the bone is less substantial. As a result, the patient experiences the sensation of bone rubbing against bone instead of cartilage. This pain can develop over weeks, months, or even years. As the wear and tear increases, the pain becomes more persistent.
With gradual wear and tear, the cartilage in the spine decreases over time and leads to painful friction. Spine osteoarthritis often affects the lower back, also known as the lumbar region of the spine. This is generally a result of bending and pulling movements that impact that part of the spine. Osteoarthritis can also affect the cervical spine, which is the part of the spine located in the neck. This form of osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as cervical spondylosis. It is generally caused by the degeneration of the discs that cushion the vertebrae of the cervical spine, bone spurs, or other abnormalities.
Shoulder osteoarthritis is when the articular cartilage of the shoulder (i.e. the protective cartilage that covers the surface of the ends of the bones and facilitates smooth, painless movement of the joint) wears away. As time goes on, the cartilage becomes increasingly damaged, leaving the surface of the bones exposed to one another. Shoulder osteoarthritis most commonly develops in the joint that connects the collarbone to the shoulder blade. It can also occur in the joint where the upper arm meets the shoulder blade.
In the same vein as knee, shoulder, and spine osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis can also impact the hip. The friction that occurs in the hip bone can cause the cartilage to wear down, resulting in bone rubbing against bone with no protection. In some cases, the damaged bones can actually begin to grow outward and form bone spurs.
What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis?
Pain associated with osteoarthritis can often be successfully managed without the need to resort to surgery. At The Spine & Sports Health Center, we take an integrative approach towards treatment for osteoarthritis pain. We will formulate a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate your pain. We specialize in non-surgical interventional pain management techniques including:
- Steroid injections
- Viscosupplementation or hyaluronic acid injections
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
Your First Stop for Osteoarthritis Pain Treatment
"The Spine & Sports Health Center should be your first stop for Osteoarthritis pain. Speak with our medical director, on the phone, for free before booking an appointment.