Hand Osteoarthritis Causes And Risk Factors
Osteoarthritis was once thought to happen because of wear and tear on your joints. Doctors now know thereâs more to the story.
On the ends of your bones, theres a layer of smooth material called cartilage. It helps cushion your joints and allows them to slide easily. But over time, the cartilage gets worn down. The bones rub against each other, causing the symptoms of OA. The wear and tear can also cause other tissues in the joint to make inflammatory cells, which damage it more.
Certain things can make you more likely to have hand OA:
- Age. The older you are, the higher your odds.
- Sex. Compared with men, women are twice as likely to get it.
- Ethnicity. Rates are lower in African Americans.
- Weight. Thinner people are less likely to get it than those who have obesity.
- Injuries. This includes broken and dislocated bones.
- Changes in your genes. Your parents might have passed down a higher chance of OA.
- Joint problems. This includes infections, loose ligaments, overuse, and joints that arenât aligned the way they should be.
What causes flare-ups?
How Arthritis In The Back Is Treated
Treatment for back arthritis depends on many factors, including your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis, other medical conditions and medications, and personal health goals. Because joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
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Advanced Diagnosis And Treatments For Spinal Arthritis
In addition to a physical exam and medical history, your spine specialist can often confirm a diagnosis of spine arthritis through a simple X-ray exam. To obtain more detailed information, the following tests may also be ordered:
- Blood tests to look for genetic markers and/or rheumatoid arthritis antibodies
- Additional imaging exams to pinpoint the exact location and extent of the damage or to rule out other possible causes
If a diagnosis of spine arthritis is confirmed, your UH spine specialist will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your age, general overall health and the severity of your symptoms. Although there is no cure, treatments can improve joint function, keep joint pain and inflammation to a minimum and prevent further damage. Your treatment plan may include:
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How Is Spinal Arthritis Treated
The treatment for spinal arthritis depends on many factors. They may include your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis and personal health goals. Because the joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, the treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling
Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis
Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine: losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your posture, etc.
Find A Community That Understands
Theres no reason to go through a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis or long-term journey alone. With the free PsA Healthline community, you can join a group and participate in live discussions, get matched with community members for a chance to make new friends, and stay up to date on the latest Psa news and research.
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Make Sure Your Doctor Knows About All Medications Vitamins And Supplements
Talk to your doctor about which pain medications are best for you. Be sure to let your doctor know what other medications you are taking, even for other health problems. Besides other drugs you take, tell your doctor about any vitamins, supplements or herbal products you use. This can help you to avoid drug interactions. Here are other .
Nerve Pain Or Numbness
As arthritis causes joints to break down, bone spurs can form. These come in contact with nerves in the spinal column and cause pain, tingling, and numbness in other areas.
You may not notice these sensations all the time, but they can become problematic when doing even the most basic activities like bending over to tie your shoes or reaching up to get something from the top shelf.
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Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.
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Osteoarthritis Of The Hip
Osteoarthritis in your hips often causes difficulty moving your hip joints. For example, you may find it difficult to put your shoes and socks on or to get in and out of a car.
Youll also usually have pain in the groin or outside the hip. This is often worse when you move the hip joints, although it can also affect you when youre resting or sleeping.
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Treating Spinal Osteoarthritis May Take A Combination Of Therapies
Talk with your doctor about your neck and/or back pain to make sure your diagnosis is accurate and current. Remember that certain types of back problems are degenerative, meaning they may change, improve, or worsen with time. Management of your spinal arthritis pain may involve more than 1 medication or therapy. You have choices, and your doctor can work with you to find the right drug or combination of medications and therapies to ease your spinal osteoarthritis symptoms.
Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Arthritis Pain. Arthritis Foundation Web site. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/electrical-stimulation-knee.php. Accessed October 29, 2018.
How Is Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosed
There isnt a test that definitively diagnoses ankylosing spondylitis. After reviewing your symptoms and family history, your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam. Your provider may order one or more of these tests to help guide diagnosis:
- Imaging scans:Magnetic resonance imaging scans can detect spine problems earlier than traditional X-rays. Still, your provider may order spine X-rays to check for arthritis or rule out other problems.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can check for the presence of the HLA-B27 gene. About 8% of people of European descent have this gene, but only a quarter of them develop ankylosing spondylitis.
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Tai Chi Instead Of Yoga
Alternative exercises like yoga are known to build strength and flexibility. But tai chi may be a better bet for alleviating pain from back arthritis.
Tai chi originated as a fighting technique, but has transformed into gentle, continuously moving stretches. Many poses work from the waist, which enhances spinal stretching.
Unlike yoga, tai chi puts little stress on the joints and helps improve balance. If youre new to tai chi, consider signing up for a class. The exercises can also be modified for severe arthritis back pain.
Should I Rest If I Have Sciatica
Some rest and change in your activities and activity level may be needed. However, too much rest, bed rest, and physical inactivity can make your pain worse and slow the healing process. Its important to maintain as much activity as possible to keep muscles flexible and strong.
Before beginning your own exercise program, see your healthcare provider or spine specialist first to get a proper diagnosis. This healthcare professional will refer you to the proper physical therapist or other trained exercise or body mechanics specialist to devise an exercise and muscle strengthening program thats best for you.
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How Will I Know If I Have Lumbar Arthritis
If youre experiencing lumbar arthritis, you may have already been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. In most cases of psoriatic arthritis, a diagnosis of psoriasis will precede any arthritis symptoms that occur.
If youre experiencing stiffness, creaking, and lost range of motion in your lower back and have never been diagnosed by a doctor with arthritis, see your doctor. They will perform a physical exam to check for inflammation and swelling at the site of your pain.
If your doctor suspects that you have arthritis, you will probably need to have an X-ray. X-rays can show any issues with bone density, cartilage loss, and bone spurs that may be causing your pain.
X-rays can also be useful in tracking your arthritis and assessing whether your recommended treatment is preventing further damage to your joints.
Your doctor will also order a blood test to determine what kind of arthritis you have.
You may be referred to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in joint pain, for further testing.
Types Of Finger Arthritis
There are three types of arthritis that commonly affect the fingers:
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common type of finger arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes normal cartilage to wear away. This exposes bare bone at the joints. The most frequently affected joints in the hand are the knuckles of the mid-finger and fingertip and the joint at the base of the thumb.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis causes a different type of joint destruction. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects the whole body. It causes the immune system to attack the soft tissues surrounding the joints. The most commonly affected joints in the hand are the knuckles at the base of the fingers .
- Gout: Gout is a condition that occurs when crystals develop within the joints. These crystals can form in one or more joints when there is too much of a substance called uric acid in the body. While the big toe is the most commonly affected part of the body, gout can also develop in finger joints.
Rarely, other types of arthritis can also cause problems in the fingers.
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Exercise For Your Thumbs
Your doctor or a physical therapist may recommend hand exercises. You can do these exercises to improve range of motion and improve your arthritis symptoms.
Simple exercises can include a thumb stretch, in which you attempt to touch the tip of your thumb to just under your pinky finger.
Another stretch, called IP, uses flexion. It requires you to hold your thumb stable with your other hand and attempt to bend just the upper part of the thumb. And an additional exercise is to simply touch the tips of each of your fingers to the tip of your thumb.
You should only do these exercises after consulting with your doctor or physical therapist. And be sure to get instructions to make sure youre doing the movements correctly.
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Spinal Arthritis Causes And Risk Factors
The causes of arthritis in the back or neck vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Besides normal wear and tear and autoimmune triggers, in many cases the exact cause remains unknown. Genetic components have been identified in connection with some forms of spinal arthritis, meaning that it may be hereditary.
Other spinal arthritis risk factors include:
Presence of certain conditions such as diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome and Lyme disease
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Try Cold Therapy To Reduce Swelling
Complementary Alternative Emerging Treatments
In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered current standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:
. PRP treatments use a small sample of your own blood that has concentrated amounts of blood building blocks known as platelets. Your doctor then injects the PRP directly into a damaged disc. The theory is that PRP injections use your own healing system to accelerate improvement of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints.
PRP treatment has a longer track record in knee osteoarthritis, but a recent review article in the Journal of Spine Surgery suggests it may have a useful role for back pain, too. PRP needs a lot more research before it can be considered a proven technique.
In this emerging treatment, your doctor injects stem cells harvested from your hip into the intervertebral disc or discs causing your pain. Doing so may lessen pain and the degenerative effects of aging, though, like PRP, more research is needed before stem cells for lower back pain could eventually become the standard of care.
. Your doctor probably doesnt perform acupuncture , but may support you trying it as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture involves careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on your body. This may stimulate the release of your natural pain-killing chemicals.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have ankylosing spondylitis, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get ankylosing spondylitis?
- What is the best treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- What lifestyle changes should I make to manage the condition?
- Is my family at risk for developing ankylosing spondylitis? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Am I at risk for other types of arthritis or back problems?
- What type of ongoing care do I need?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that mostly affects the spine. Its a lifelong condition without a cure. However, exercise, medications and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms so you can enjoy a long, productive life. Its rare for someone with AS to become severely disabled. Talk to your healthcare provider about the steps you can take to stay active and manage symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/21/2020.
Reactive Or Enteropathic Arthritis
Both reactive and enteropathic arthritis are tied to lumbar arthritis symptoms.
Reactive arthritis is triggered by an infection in your body. It typically results after a bacterial infection, such as chlamydia or salmonella.
Enteropathic arthritis is typically tied to inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease.
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How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
Prescription Medication And Surgery
If OTC medications arent easing your symptoms, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids or muscle relaxants. Corticosteroids are used to control inflammation, and muscle relaxants are used to minimize muscle spasms.
Your doctor will only recommend surgery as a last resort. Its typically only needed in cases where the bones have fused together or where the pain is so extreme that it prevents any range of motion.
When To See Your Gp
You should speak to your GP as soon as possible if you have back pain and:
- find it difficult to pass or control urine
- feel numbness or altered sensation around your back passage or genitals â such as wiping after the toilet
- have pins and needles around your back passage or genitals â such as wiping after the toilet
If your GP surgery is closed, phone 111.
What Other Risk Factors May Increase Your Likelihood Of Experiencing Ra
* Gender: Women are much more likely to suffer from this autoimmune disorder.* Weight: Overweight individuals are more prone to developing RA.* Smoking: If you smoke, you are more likely to develop RA, and if you develop it, your symptoms may be more pronounced than those who do not smoke.* Age: RA is more likely to hit you in middle age * Environment: Certain environmental exposures have been found to elevate your risk of RA, including exposure to asbestos and silica.
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