The short answer to the question, “Is arthritis reversible?” is no, it’s not. However, while joint damage resulting from many forms of arthritis can’t be cured, many can be treated, and lifestyle changes can help you live a comfortable, mobile life, in spite of the condition.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis affecting over 50 million Americans. Of these, 32 million suffer from osteoarthritis, by far the most common form of joint disease. Any arthritic condition might be mild, moderate, or severe, but once joint changes begin, there’s no way to reverse them.
It is possible, though, to slow or even stop the progression of many cases of arthritis. This can lead to fading symptoms, including less pain and increased mobility, so there’s no reason to think that the active phase of your life is over after an arthritis diagnosis.
The team at Westside Pain Specialists helps you develop a personal arthritis management plan that controls pain and discomfort while helping you regain capabilities that may be affected by the condition.
Let’s take a look at osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear version of arthritis that affects the greatest number of American adults.
The word “arthritis” simply means that a joint is inflamed or swollen. Used alone, it doesn’t give any information about the cause of the problem, nor does it describe the damage the condition causes.
Osteoarthritis might be triggered by an injury, either acute or from repeated motion or overuse, hence the wear-and-tear description. Simply, the cartilage that covers the ends of joint bones erodes and reduces the efficiency of movement and can lead to pain as the damage progresses.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks joint tissue. Gout creates inflammation through the crystallization of uric acid, usually in the joint of the big toe.
Other forms of arthritis have their own mechanisms that cause damage to joints.
While damage may not start with cartilage surfaces in all types of arthritis, these usually become damaged at some point in the progression of the condition, leading to painful bone-on-bone contact, which may require joint replacement surgery to correct.
Slowing the progression of arthritis
There are specific approaches to different types of arthritis. For osteoarthritis, reducing the load on joints is the most common way to slow the progress of the disease. Strategies for slowing osteoarthritis include:
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Physical therapy to build muscles that support the problem joint
- Using braces or splints where applicable
- Increasing low-impact activities like walking and swimming
Pain from mild and moderate cases of osteoarthritis typically use over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen, while severe cases may require prescription-strength medications.
Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may require controlling the primary disease first to reduce the risk of further joint damage.
Though arthritis can’t be cured, it can be treated successfully to extend your active years and put off joint replacement procedures.
Get started with your arthritis management plan by contacting Dr. James Nassiri and the team at Westside Pain Specialists. Call the nearest location in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga, California, to book your consultation now.