ArthritisDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
Though arthritis is extremely common and a familiar term to many, it is not fully understood. In effect, arthritis is one word referring to over 100 different types of inflammatory joint diseases and conditions. Still, it remains a leading cause of disability across the country, and it affects individuals of all ages. However, it is more common in women and worsens with age.
Symptoms associated with arthritis may include:
- Swelling (common in finger joints)
- Impaired range of motion
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty climbing stairs
The above-mentioned symptoms occur in varying degrees and intensities, and some may come and go. In turn, some are visible symptoms (knobby finger joints) and others can only be detected through an x-ray.
Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis): As the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when there is a breakdown of the cartilage cushioning the ends of certain bones. As a result, bone rubs against bone. This friction causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is often the result of a previous injury, such as an ACL tear in the knee. Yet, other factors that may increase one’s risk are obesity, family history and age.
Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis (inflammatory arthritis): When one’s immune system malfunctions, uncontrolled inflammation can wreak havoc on joints, and it can lead to joint erosion, damage to organs and other parts of the body, including the eyes. Research suggests that environmental factors (including smoking) make one more at risk, along with genetic components. Remission for inflammatory types of arthritis is possible with aggressive treatment.
Infectious arthritis: Whether through bacteria, fungus or a virus, joints may become infected, triggering an inflammatory response. This can happen through salmonella, food poisoning, chlamydia, gonorrhea or hepatitis C.
Metabolic Arthritis: When levels of uric acid build up in the body, they form needle-like crystals in the joints. As a result, individuals suffer episodes of extreme joint pain or a gout attack. While reducing uric levels will help, metabolic arthritis can become a chronic condition with pain and disability.
Pain Management and Rehabilitation for Arthritis
With distinct types and manifestations, as well as the ability to affect multiple body systems, arthritis is best treated through a multidisciplinary approach. Thus, physiatrists may consult other medical professionals including therapists, primary care physicians, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, and interventionists to develop comprehensive rehabilitation.
A number of treatment modalities are brought to the table, with the goal of managing pain and improving range of motion. As pain and inflammation subside, patients may adhere to a regimen of exercise, learning how to care for swollen joints and discovering proper body mechanics to reduce stress and tension. Whether patients are recovering from joint surgery or if they are seeking a way to manage their arthritis pain, rehabilitation plays a vital role in their overall functioning and quality of life.
Other conservative therapies that benefit patients with arthritis include rest (may incorporate a resting splint), heat therapy, electrical stimulation, aquatic exercise, stretching, joint alignment techniques and aerobics. In turn, special devices to help with buttoning a shirt, putting on socks or using zippers can be a part of lifestyle training, as well as a consideration of ergonomics. In other words, therapists make suggestions on changes patients can make in their work environment to reduce symptoms related to their arthritis. This also includes emotional support and counseling services to help boost a patient’s coping skills and overall outlook.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
For optimal patient care and whole body wellness, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute today.