St. Anthony Rheumatologist Talks Tips and Treatment Options for Arthritis 

Contact: Shelly Payne

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis affects one in five adults in the United States. That's over 54 million people.  Arthritis, a disease affecting the joints, is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. 

“Arthritis is painful,” stated Omar Silvestre, M.D., St. Anthony Rheumatologist. “It can affect everyday activities. The pain and stiffness can make it difficult to perform the daily tasks most people take for granted.”

While arthritis is commonly viewed as a condition affecting older adults, arthritis can affect people of all ages, including children. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. The two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in your joints.
     -It often affects many joints at one time and can happen at any age.
  • Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of Americans every year.
    -This is a degenerative disease that affects the cartilage in your joints through “wear and tear.”
    -Osteoarthritis can occur through the overuse or injury of your joints. The most commonly affected joints include your hands, back, hips and knees.
    -Osteoarthritis generally starts in a small area and results in bone-on-bone contact. This causes swollen, painful and stiff joints.

 “When pain occurs, it’s human nature to avoid doing things that aggravate it,” said Dr. Silvestre. “Although that strategy seems to make sense, it is helpful for arthritis sufferers to move and get exercise,” he added.

Low-impact exercises are highly recommended for people with arthritis. Such exercises include:

  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming and water aerobic
  • Working with a physical therapist to find and perform exercises designed specifically to increase your range of motion in an arthritic joint

In some cases, over-the-counter pain medication can also lessen the pain of arthritis. Medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) can help in reducing pain and swelling within your joints. Other helpful medications include topical creams like capsaicin. You should check with your doctor before starting any new pain relief regimen. You can also combine these over-the-counter pain medications with ice or heat, as recommended by your provider.

In more serious or advanced cases of arthritis, doctors will recommend stronger methods of pain relief, including cortisone injections and either arthroscopic surgery or total joint replacement surgery. Typically, these measures are taken when all other methods of treatment no longer provide relief.

St. Anthony Physicians Rheumatology is located at St. Anthony Healthplex North, 13401 N. Western Avenue, suite 210 in Oklahoma City. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Silvestre please call 405-272-4953.