Arthritis is a degenerative group of conditions that primarily affects your joints. As the condition worsens, so does your mobility, in most cases. At Lynx Healthcare in Spokane Valley, Kennewick, and Richland, Washington, the team can diagnose arthritis in its early stages using bone scans and can treat you according to the type and severity of your arthritis. To explore arthritis treatments and services in greater detail, call Lynx Healthcare, or book an appointment online today.
Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause joint pain and inflammation. Over time, it can lead to immobility, causing difficulties for sleep, productivity, and activity levels. Most forms of arthritis primarily affect the smooth cartilage within your joints that prevents your bones from grating together.
Of the more than 100 forms of arthritis, these are the two most common:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the tissues within your joints as if they were harmful to your health. It mostly affects the joints in your hands and feet, but it can also develop in your hips, knees, and elbows.
Osteoarthritis is the gradual wear and tear damage that accumulates on the cartilage in your joints. When your bones start to rub together, you can develop painful bone spurs. This condition can affect any or all of your joints but is most severe in weight-bearing joints like your spine, hips, or knees.
The first step in diagnosing arthritis is a thorough physical examination. The Lynx Healthcare team assesses your range of motion in your affected joints, their stability, and their strength. After the physical exam, they often use blood tests and imaging tests to determine which type of arthritis you have and assess the extent of the damage.
If you have some joint damage that isn’t significant enough to show up on an X-ray image yet, the team might use a bone scan to better understand the extent of the damage. In order to perform a bone scan, they inject you with a small dose of a radioactive substance. Once in your system, it builds up in areas of damage so that it’s visible on the bone scan imaging test.
Most cases of arthritis are manageable without surgery. Usually, the first step in treatment is to rest the joints and use medications to relieve swelling and pain. If you need further treatment, the team at Lynx Healthcare might recommend:
If your arthritis has progressed to the point that non-surgical treatments don’t make much difference, surgery may be necessary. In one type of surgery for arthritis called a synovectomy, a surgeon removes the inner lining of the joint called the synovium.
Other surgical procedures involve bone realignment or joint fusing to prevent rubbing and irritation. Joint replacement is also possible in some cases.
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