Arthritis! Stop the hurt!

July 24, 2023

Dr. Jim talks about the many forms of arthritis – osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

With the right care, it doesn’t need to hurt. See your doctor. Knock down the pain. And remember – when your joints hurt, the underlying cause may be injuring them!

Hi, it’s Doctor Jim again. Today we’re talking about arthritis – what causes it and how you treat it.

First let’s talk about osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is wear and tear arthritis. It usually occurs at an advanced stage affecting the dominant side of the body so, if you’re right-handed it affects the right hip, your right hand, and your right knee. There’s often a family history for osteoarthritis and again it affects just one side usually the hands the knees and the hips. Medications we use to treat osteoarthritis are Tylenol, ibuprofen, and Naprosyn. Sometimes – when it’s early on – physical therapy may be beneficial. Unfortunately, if it advances you may be looking at knee replacement or hip replacement.

So, now let’s talk about inflammatory arthritis. I’m talking about rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Both conditions they can occur in multiple joints throughout the body. The difference between rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, in psoriatic arthritis patients not only have inflamed tender and painful joints, but patients also have the condition known as psoriasis.

In rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis the immune system goes upside down and crazy, but in addition to the joint like rheumatoid arthritis, PA patients have tenderness, inflammation and irritation and destruction of the skin. Skin lesions involve the elbows and the knees, but can be the back, abdomen, neck and all over the body. It’s very unpleasant for people that are severely affected.

Both conditions are about the immune system – the immune system attacking the skin, attacking the joints causing joint inflammation, joint pain, and untreated joint destruction.

Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are treated with very special medications. You’ve seen them on TV – Humira, Stelara,  Skyrizi, Taltz, and Rinvoq and they can be miracle.

Here’s an image of rheumatoid arthritis, this is advanced. This is rheumatoid arthritis that has gone untreated. Notice how the joints are swollen and disfigured. Notice how it involves occurs on both sides – it’s symmetric. These fingers are floppy, these fingers do not function. This patient probably cannot hold a glass of water and certainly can’t prepare meals or work outside the home.

Picture RA

Here’s an X-ray of a similar patient with rheumatoid arthritis showing the disfiguration – the twisting and turning of the fingers over the hand, the destruction of the joints especially where the fingers meet the hand. See how there’s loss of joint space. These joints do not function. There is no strength in these hands.


And here’s an image of psoriatic arthritis – not so much the joints but what psoriasis looks like – the scaly, flaking, irritated red skin that’s associated with psoriasis, but again with in this instance we’re talking about psoriasis plus arthritis and the pain joint destruction that goes with it.


All this is sobering, I must admit. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis are painful. The skin conditions related with psoriasis are embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Here’s the good news! They’re eminently treatable. You don’t have to end up with joint destruction. You don’t have to live with unpleasant appearing skin because we can treat them with medications, physical therapy and sometimes surgery.

Here’s the take home message. Pain means joint destruction. Once damaged, the damage is permanent.  So, get together with your doctor. Find out which medications are right for you. Get treatment so your disease is controlled and neither permanent nor disfiguring nor disabling.

This is Doctor Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! give us the like, subscribe to our channel, and don’t forget to power your path to happiness!

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