Arthritis is a common joint condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints of the body. Arthritis comes in many forms, as there are more than 100 different types of this joint disease. Because of this, the various types of arthritis follow different stages of progression.
However, most types of arthritis follow a similar progression process. Below, we highlight two of the most common arthritis types: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects millions of people. Osteoarthritis causes the protective cartilage located at the joints to deteriorate and break down. This results in inflammation and pain caused by the bones rubbing against each other.
Cartilage serves a very important role in the joints of the body. It’s a rubber-like covering that serves as a shock absorber and allows the bones in a joint to glide around each other painlessly. When the cartilage breaks down, the bones no longer have a protective barrier between them.
Osteoarthritis has a slow progression, and it can take years to move from stage to stage.
The Stages of Osteoarthritis
- Early-Stage Osteoarthritis: In the early stage of osteoarthritis, the cartilage located in a joint begins to thin. This continues until the person begins to experience occasional pain, as friction develops between the bones at the joint. In this stage of the condition, losing weight and reducing stress on the joints can help reduce the pain. In the early stage of osteoarthritis, it is common to have one or more joints experiencing symptoms.
- Moderate-Stage Osteoarthritis: In this stage, patients often begin to take medications to control the pain. The joints become inflamed and painful much more often during this stage. While it’s common to experience more pain when pressure is put on joints in this stage, living a moderately active lifestyle actually helps reduce pain.
- Late-Stage Osteoarthritis: In this stage of osteoarthritis, pain, stiffness, and inflammation are common in multiple joint areas. It’s common to take stronger pain medications to help reduce pain. It’s also common to get joint replacement surgery in this stage, because medications and other treatment methods are not working to reduce pain and to increase mobility.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a very serious type of arthritis that is caused by autoimmune issues. This causes joint swelling and pain in multiple joints of the body, and symptoms can even occur while resting and putting no pressure on the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis develops and progresses fairly quickly; and within a matter of months, symptoms can spread to multiple parts of the body.
The Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Stage 1: In the early stage of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s common to have inflammation, pain, and stiffness in just a few joints in the body. Typically, this reaction comes after doing a strenuous activity.
- Stage 2: In this stage of rheumatoid arthritis, the cartilage in the joints is decreasing and inflammation is increasing. In this stage of the disease, patients begin to experience problems with mobility.
- Stage 3: This stage is considered severe rheumatoid arthritis. In this stage, not only is the cartilage deteriorating, but also the bones at the joints are wearing away. This causes a lot of pain and decreases mobility and muscle strength in multiple parts of the body.
- Stage 4: In this stage of the disease, mobility becomes extremely limited, and joints stop functioning the way they are supposed to. Pain, inflammation, and loss of mobility are severe symptoms in this stage.
Who Can Help with My Arthritis Pain in Michigan?
If you have arthritis, it’s important to see an experienced and reputable orthopedic specialist for quality treatment. Your treatment plan will depend on the type of arthritis you have and the stage of the condition.
Movement Orthopedics specializes in a variety of orthopedic health issues including arthritis, and we can help you develop a customized treatment plan to help reduce symptoms as much as possible – and slow down the progression of the disease when possible.
Call us today at (586) 436-3785 to make an appointment, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form right now. We look forward to helping you alleviate your pain and enjoy a more active lifestyle again.