Reducing Joint Pain

Joint PainJoints, which are the connections between bones, are vital to provide the human body with support and movement. It stands to reason then that any damage to the joints from disease or injury can result in significant pain and limited movement. Joint pain can affect any part of your body, from the shoulders and hands to the knees, ankles and feet.

In terms of disease that affects the joints, it is estimated that 46 million people in the United States are living with rheumatic diseases, which are the most common causes of joint pain and reduced mobility. In fact, joint pain is so common that in one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. And as we get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.

Many such conditions can lead to joint pain. These include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout. joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles, feet and knees to your shoulders and hands.

Like most such conditions, joint pain can range from minimal to debilitating. It may be sporadic, lasting for a couple of weeks and then diminishing. It may also be chronic, continuing for several weeks or even months. Various techniques can be used to manage joint pain, such as medication or physical therapy. An experienced qualified physician is important for both the diagnostic and treatment of joint pain.

An important aspect of rheumatologic conditions, the biggest contributors to joint pain, is expert care. A certified rheumatologist can be vital. That’s because through early detection and the latest innovative therapies, quality of life can be restored to those who are afflicted.

According to Dr. Jason Wu of The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, “Due to the significant advances over the past decade, there have been improvements in disease-modifying treatments, such as Enbrel, and Humira (injectables you can give yourself). These have really changed the way we treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. These treatments can really help patients if they are appropriate for them. It is important now more than ever to have a Rheumatoid Arthritis evaluation done very early. In the 1970s and 80s, an early diagnosis couldn’t have helped much because we did not have the treatments. Today, our treatments can really prevent the severe deformities rheumatoid arthritis can cause. If diagnosed today, a person shouldn’t have to get the kind of deformities we see in textbooks. It’s important to educate people to get evaluated and diagnosed earlier, before permanent deformities develop.”

These medications are biologics—genetically-engineered proteins derived from human genes. They are designed to inhibit those specific parts of the immune system that are pivotal in the presence of inflammation, which is central to rheumatoid arthritis and the pain that results.

These biologics are used for treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis that has not been sufficiently responsive to other treatments. As Dr. Wu points out, Biologics have been shown to help slow progression of rheumatoid arthritis when all other treatments have failed to do so. Aggressive rheumatoid arthritis treatment is known to help prevent long-term disability from RA.

Biologics are genetically-engineered proteins derived from human genes. They are designed to inhibit specific components of the immune system that play pivotal roles in fueling inflammation, which is a central feature of rheumatoid arthritis.

Biologics are used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis that has not responded adequately to other treatments. They differ significantly from traditional drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in that they target specific components of the immune system instead of broadly affecting many areas of the immune system. Biologics may be used alone but are commonly given along with other rheumatoid arthritis medications.

A rheumatic disease affects the joints and connective tissues. Arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis are just three of the more than 100 types of rheumatic diseases.

More than 100 diseases are classified as rheumatic diseases, including many types of arthritis. Arthritic conditions are distinguished by red, swollen joints and inflamed connective tissues such as cartilage, synovial tissue, and tendons. Other rheumatic diseases are considered autoimmune diseases, meaning that the body’s own immune system is turning on parts of the body.

Who gets the diseases that result in, among other symptoms, joint pain. Dr. Wu explains the genesis of these diseases, “Unfortunately, we still don’t know what causes these autoimmune diseases. Whoever figures that out will win a Nobel Prize. There is likely a genetic component, but not everyone in a family gets these conditions. They can also be set off by environmental factors like smoking or bacteria in dental cavities. However, we still cannot pinpoint one exact etiology that sets off these diseases. In all likelihood, there is probably a combination of factors, “a perfect storm,” to get these conditions.”