Arthritis is the most frequent cause of disability in adults. You can slow down the impact of this progressive disease with early treatment, so it’s important to consult the doctors at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge as soon as you notice symptoms of arthritis. They’re experts at diagnosing and treating arthritis and working with you to stay active and healthy. If you have any concerns about your joints, please schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices located in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana.

Arthritis Q & A

What are the most common types of arthritis?

Arthritis generally refers to joint inflammation. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that often develops over years of wear and tear of the joints, but it can also occur following joint trauma. It occurs when the cartilage that normally covers the end of bones begins to wear away. Cartilage cushions and lubricates bones so they can move smoothly within the joint. When it breaks down, bone rubs against bone, which causes pain and eventually leads to inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system attacks your own joints, causing inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis can spread throughout the body, affecting other joints and even organs like your skin, eyes, and lungs. It eventually causes deformed joints as inflammation destroys cartilage and bones.

What are the signs of arthritis?

The key symptoms shared by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. With rheumatoid arthritis, your joints are also swollen. It’s important to seek professional help at the first signs of arthritis because early treatment can stop or slow down progressive joint deterioration and disability.

Signs of osteoarthritis:

  • Pain that increases with activities that stress the joint
  • Sensation of grinding in affected joints
  • Joint tenderness when pressure is applied
  • Temporary morning stiffness

Signs of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Swelling of three or more joints
  • Swelling of the same joints on both sides of the body
  • Morning stiffness that lasts at least one hour

What risk factors increase your chances of developing arthritis?

Women are three times more likely to develop arthritis than men. Your risk of developing osteoarthritis also increases with age, if you’re overweight, you’ve had a joint injury, or you have a family history of the disease.

How is arthritis treated?

Arthritis treatment is individualized to match the type of arthritis and the severity of symptoms, but two key treatments are physical activity and medications. Regular, gentle exercise balanced with rest maintains joint mobility, helps relieve pain, and keeps muscles strong.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often use medications to slow the disease progression, prevent further joint damage, and to keep it in remission as long as possible. Your doctor will also help you find safe ways to alleviate pain.

Common treatment for osteoarthritis includes:

  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Weight loss, if necessary
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Topical pain medications
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Supportive devices such as braces and shoe inserts
  • Intra-articular steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Surgery, such as joint replacement

Common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes:

  • Rest when joints are inflamed
  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Weight loss, if necessary
  • Medications to halt disease progression, such as antirheumatic drugs and biologic agents
  • Surgery to restore function to damaged joints