Joint stiffness is the sensation of or the apparent loss of range of motion of a joint. Joint stiffness often accompanies joint pain and/or swelling. Joint stiffness can be caused by injury or disease of the joint and is a common finding in the arthritis conditions.
Joint damage including stiffness can also occur following injury to the joint. Sometimes injuries or inflammation of the adjacent areas, such as bursae, can cause pain that may limit the movement of a joint and be perceived as joint stiffness. Joint pain is also referred to as arthralgia.
- Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints.
- Symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints.
- Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults.
- A rheumatologist is a medical arthritis expert.
- Earlier and accurate diagnosis can help to prevent irreversible damage and disability.
- 50% of people age 65 or older have OA in at least one joint.
- 60% of men and 70% of female over the age of 65 have OA.
- More prevalent in men age 45 and younger, but more prevalent in women age 50 and older.
What is arthritis? What causes arthritis?
Arthritis is a joint disorder featuring inflammation. A joint is an area of the body where two different bones meet. A joint functions to move the body parts connected by its bones. Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints.
Arthritis is frequently accompanied by joint pain. There are over 100 identified types of arthritis.
The types range from:
1). those related to wear and tear of cartilage usually secondary to a previous injury or trauma (such as osteoarthritis). Osteoarthritis predominantly involves the weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, cervical and lumbosacral spine, and feet. But it can happen in other joints too. A joint is where two bones connect. And you have them all over your body.
2). those associated with inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis).
Together, the many types of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness in Australia.
The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes include:
- Injury (leading to osteoarthritis),
- Metabolic abnormalities (such as gout),
- Hereditary factors, the direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral),
- A misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).
Arthritis is classified as one of the rheumatic diseases. These are conditions that are different individual illnesses, with differing features, treatments, complications, and prognoses. They are similar in that they have a tendency to affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons, and many have the potential to affect other internal body areas.
Symptoms of Arthritis
- Pain. Your joints may ache, or the pain may feel burning or sharp especially with movement.
- Stiffness. Getting up in the morning can be hard. Your joints may feel stiff and creaky for a short time, until you get moving.
- Muscle weakness. The muscles around the joint may get weaker. This happens a lot with arthritis in the knee.
- Deformed joints. Joints can start to look like they are the wrong shape, especially as arthritis gets worse.
- Reduced range of motion and loss of use of the joint. As your arthritis gets worse, you may not be able to fully bend, flex, or extend your joints. Or you may not be able to use them at all.
- Cracking and creaking. Your joints may make crunching, creaking sounds.
Treatment of Arthritis
The treatment of arthritis is very dependent on the precise type of arthritis present. Conservative treatment is successful 75% of the time. An accurate diagnosis increases the chances for successful treatment. Treatments available include physical therapy, massage therapy, splinting, cold-pack application, anti-inflammatory medications and pain medications.
The most common form of Joint Stiffness and Arthritis we treat at Spinal and Sport Care is Osteoarthritis. Our philosophy is to prevent as many patients as possible undergoing joint replacement surgeries.
Even though there is no cure for osteoarthritis, treatment can help reduce your symptoms and make it possible for you to lead a full and active life.
The goals of treatment are to:
- Reduce your pain and stiffness.
- Keep your joints working and moving well.
- Keep you from becoming disabled.
- Prevent more damage to your joints.
Treatment is based on:
- How bad your symptoms are.
- How much your symptoms prevent you from doing your daily tasks.
- How well other treatments have worked.
- How much damage to the joint (or joints) you have.
Our practitioners at Spinal and Sports Care place a lot of importance on exercising to strengthen your muscles. Having stronger thigh muscles, for example, can help reduce stress on your knees. swimming, biking, and walking are good activities. Low impact exercises are beneficial because they do not add an increased amount of stress to the joint.