Topics in Joint Pain and Musculoskeletal Conditions

Many of the topics in joint pain and musculoskeletal conditions involved in correcting diagnosing which specific orthopedic condition is involved and what options are available to treat or manage it. While it is often important that the cause of the person's pain is determined before a treatment protocol for it is laid out, it is not always essential.

How is this possible? How can doctors fix a person's problem before they even determine what caused it? Often, the root cause of a person's back pain is never determined, even after they have been successfully treated to eliminate symptoms. Despite the cause of a person's back pain, doctors often take the same approach to treating the symptoms in this part of the body - a program of stretching, exercise, and anti-inflammatory medication.

Regardless of the cause of the pain, everyone may benefit from a physical therapy program than involves strength training of the back and abdominal muscles. These muscles are involved with strengthening and stabilizing the structures that support the back. When these muscles become overdeveloped, they may compensate for other degenerative changes in the spine that destabilize it.

What are Rheumatic diseases and arthritis? All people are familiar with the term arthritis and have a general understanding of what it involves. They hear the term and understand that they usually involve age related changes to the joints that cause pain and physical limitation. For the most part, this assumption is correct.

Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joint. The term arthritis is generally pretty un-descriptive because its definition does not indicate the cause of the pain. there are a variety of injuries and diseases conditions that may affect the joints to cause inflammation. These conditions and diseases may affect the joints, as well as other structures that support the joints, including the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. Pain is one of the most common symptoms that patients use to describe joint inflammation. Other related symptoms that are used to describe joint inflammation include stiffness, swelling, and tenderness.

Arthritis and rheumatic diseases are often used interchangeable in many medical textbooks and scientific health journals. Wear and tear is one of the most common causes of rheumatic disease. There are over 100 causes of arthritis. Many diseases that affect the joints also affect other structures and organs in the body, including scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis, which we will discuss in more detail below. Let's take a look at some medical conditions and diseases that affect the joints and other tissues in the body.

Osteoarthritis: Basically, osteoarthritis is arthritis that is not caused by disease. This is the wear and tear form of arthritis, and involves the loss cartilage between adjacent bones. At some point, the cartilage may wear out to the point where the bones come in contact with each other. Some people may actually be able to adapt to these arthritic changes to the bones and joints, while others may become disabled. Arthritis often causes the most physical disability when they occur in weight-bearing joints such as those in the knees and spine.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: With Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, the immune system inexplicably changes to become something of an enemy to the body, attacking joint tissues. Somehow the immune system no becomes unable to recognize friend or foe in the body. This inflammatory responds harms the synovium (lining of the joints), resulting in inflammation and swelling. One of the signatures of this rheumatic disease, as opposed to others, is that they usually affect joints of the hands and feet, as opposed to the weight bearing joints. About 1.3 million people in the US have this disease compared to 27 million who suffer from osteoporosis.