CINCINNATI—Arthritis can be an extremely painful condition and is often detrimental to a person’s lifestyle. Moreover, it’s not just a disease of the elderly—it affects people from childhood to adulthood. Arthritis can also be a representation of a more systematic disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma.
"We offer a comprehensive approach to muscular skeletal complaints. This allows us to determine if a patient with joint pain has a disease limited to the joints or something more complicated,” says Elizabeth Araujo, MD, assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and an immunology and arthritis specialist with UC Health.
Arthritis is an umbrella term that describes over 100 conditions and diseases. Arthritis has an effect on the joints and surrounding tissues, as well as other connective tissues. Those who have osteoarthritis, for example, experience a breakdown in joint cartilage. They also encounter changes to underlying bone as well as the supporting tissues. People with rheumatoid arthritis experience inflammation of the lining of joints over a long-term period. You can also develop arthritis after an injury to a joint.
People who have arthritis experience pain and physical disability to differing degrees. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are some treatments available, such as:
* Occupational therapy
* Drugs to treat inflammation and pain
* Exercise and physical fitness programs
Important steps to keep your joints healthy:
· Maintain a healthy weight.
· If you have injured a joint, seek out medical care and possibly rehabilitation. This can ensure that you don’t further injure yourself.
· Research tips on how to exercise properly, so that you don’t put stress on your joints. Ask a gym instructor or health care professional.
· Repetitive movements can pose a problem. Typing, for example, can be harmful.
If you develop pain, stiffness or swelling of the joints, it is important to seek the opinion of a medical expert, says Araujo.
UC Health arthritis specialists see patients at the Medical Arts Building, 222 Piedmont Ave., and also the Hoxworth Center, 3130 Highland Ave. Call 475-8000 for an appointment.