Osteoarthritis has many symptoms and risk factors that can alert a person that they may be experiencing this common type of arthritis. With all of these risk factors and symptoms, it can be easy for a doctor to diagnose you, as well as begin treatment that is specific to your osteoarthritis. It is important to note that people exhibit different levels of pain with their symptoms of osteoporosis, so your treatment may be different from another person’s. Once you experience any of the symptoms, or possess any of the risk factors, you should go to the doctor in order to get diagnosed and begin treatment.
When you go to the doctor’s there are many ways to prepare for the appointment. You will want to bring in a list for your doctor that includes: questions you have, detailed descriptions of the symptoms, any past medical problems that you have had, information about medical problems in your family, and all of the medications that you are currently taking. When you get to the doctor, they will most likely ask you these questions: have you injured the joint in question, when did the joint pain begin, is the pain continuous or does it come and go, and do any specific activities make the pain better or worse. Make sure you know as much information about these questions as you can, because it will lead to a better diagnosis. There are many different ways that doctors go about diagnosing a person with osteoarthritis. There will first be a physical exam. The doctor will examine the affected joint. When they are examining this joint, they will be checking for tenderness, swelling, redness, and the range of motion in the joint.
There are many tests that your doctor will do in order to diagnose you with osteoarthritis. One of the first tests that they will do will be imaging tests. These imaging tests take pictures of the affected joints. One of these imaging tests is something that is fairly common, X-rays. X-rays can show bone spurs around a joint, as well as a space between the bones in your joint caused by cartilage loss. Your doctor could also do a magnetic resonance imaging test, or an MRI. Although this is uncommon, an MRI produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage. Doctors can also do lab tests to analyze the blood and joint fluid. A blood test can rule out other types of arthritis. Joint fluid analysis can determine if there is inflammation and if your pain is caused by gout or an infection.
After you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it is time to begin treatment. One of the first treatment options is medication. There are a few medications that your doctor could prescribe to you for your osteoarthritis. One of the most common medications is acetaminophen, also commonly known as Tylenol, along with other common medications. This medication is used to treat the pain that comes along with osteoarthritis, and does not help with inflammation. There are also nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. These medications can reduce inflammation as well as relieve pain. These include ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve and others. Make sure to follow the dosage amounts on the bottle, as well as listen to your doctor about these medications.
You can also take steroids, although there are many side effects that come along with them if they are used long term. Usually, if doctors decide to use steroids as treatment, they will inject the steroid into the affected joint.
Alongside medications for treatment, people can use therapy in order to treat osteoarthritis. There is physical therapy and occupational therapy in order to create a routine that is going to beneficial for your specific case of osteoarthritis. You can also have braces or shoe inserts in order to take a lot of pressure off of your joints. Topical creams can also be used on joints that are not in too much pain.
Whatever your preferred method of treatment for your osteoarthritis is, make sure to follow guidelines on the medication bottles, as well as listen to your doctor. If you exhibit any symptoms, or have any of the risk factors, go to your doctor right away in order to get diagnosed in order to get treatment as soon as possible.