ASK THE EXPERT: Managing arthritis pain and finding relief

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- In the United States, 1 in 4 adults have arthritis, according to the CDC.

It is a leading cause of work disability.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7NEWS’ Taylor Murray spoke with a rheumatologist about managing your pain, so arthritis doesn’t hold you back from your daily activities.

According to the rheumatologist, “Arthritis actually means joint inflammation.”

Dr. Archana Srinivas, a rheumatologist, says there are several types of arthritis.

“It can be degenerative or associated with wear & tear arthritis, which we call osteoarthritis. It can be associated with inflammation… from rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis,” Dr. Srinivas said.

Some people are predisposed to getting arthritis.

“So being overweight can predispose you. Trauma can predispose you to having arthritis, joint pain, and then family history.”

Dr. Archana Srinivas / Rheumatologist, Bon Secours St. Francis health

Dr. Srinivas says that arthritis symptoms include joint pain and swelling.

Several things can trigger flare ups.

“Repetitive activities or motions can lead to flares of arthritis, weather changes definitely can, and stress as well,” said Dr. Srinivas.

Not all joint pain is arthritis. Dr. Srinivas explains when to see a doctor.

According to Dr. Srinivas, “We always get worried if a patient has stiffness in the mornings, especially if it’s lasting more than 30 minutes or so. That’s definitely a problem to see someone about.”

Your primary care doctor should be your first stop.

“A lot of times conservative medicines can be tried. If those don’t work then consider a referral to us, a rheumatologist,” Dr. Srinivas said.

There is no cure for arthritis, but Dr. Srinivas says medical treatment, like steroid injections, can reduce pain. You can also improve symptoms at home.

Dr. Srinivas said, “There are many creams that are available over the counter. All of those you can apply as often as you want.”

Dr. Srinivas says surgery may be the best option if home remedies, steroid injections, and other medical treatments are not improving your symptoms.

Surgical procedures for arthritis include ligament or tendon repair, as well as, more invasive operations like total joint replacement.

To submit a health topic for our series, click here.

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