Arthritis is a widespread and potentially debilitating condition that affects well over 50 million adults nationwide. As an experienced physician, Dr. Chaula Patel provides care to help patients manage arthritis, preserve joint function, and provide relief from the associated symptoms.
Arthritis is not a single disease; instead, it is a term that applies to more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect the joints, the structures within the joint, as well as other connective tissues in the body. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of arthritis.
Although unique characteristics define each rheumatic disease, all types of arthritic conditions include symptoms of pain and stiffness around either a single or multiple joints. Some forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, are associated with a degenerative process that wears down the cartilaginous cushion within the joint. As the cartilage diminishes, painful bone-on-bone contact ensues. While the damage of osteoarthritis is generally confined to the joint itself, rheumatoid arthritis involves a more widespread inflammatory and immune response, which can also affect the surrounding connective tissues as well as other organs.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the symptoms of an arthritic condition can develop slowly over time or seemingly emerge out of the blue. And, while some arthritic joint changes are visually apparent, as in the case of knobby fingers, some cases of joint damage can only be detected with diagnostic imaging.
Of course, the specific treatment for an arthritic condition depends upon which rheumatic disease is present. However, the goal in every case remains the same. Treatment is designed to help alleviate discomfort, preserve joint function, and reduce disability to the extent possible. With this in mind, Dr. Patel takes an integrative and holistic approach to care; prescribing medication, exercise, and physical therapy to suit a patient’s needs. She may also recommend yoga and tai chi, or integrative therapy such as ozone prolotherapy to alleviate symptoms and restore healthy tissue.