Although there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, the most common forms are degenerative arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Degenerative arthritis occurs from wear and tear on the joints; the cartilage that covers the ends of the bone wears away, causing friction and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body. It is more common in women. Other types of arthritis include metabolic arthritis (gout) and infectious arthritis, which results from a bacterial, viral or fungal infection in the joints.
Chronic pain, especially joint pain, is the classic symptom of arthritis. Pain may occur in any joint and can occur at rest. Joint stiffness, tenderness, and swelling are also common. Fatigue may occur as part of the disease or may be related to disrupted sleep from pain. Patients may develop muscle weakness or decreased the range of motion as joints become increasingly stiff or deformed. Bumps on the fingers and bony outgrowths in fingers and toes may also occur. Symptoms may periodically become worse (flare-up), especially in rheumatoid arthritis.
Medications for arthritis include pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Sometimes, treatment can cause arthritis to go into remission – remove most or all of the symptoms for a period of time. Exercise, massage, physical therapy and nutritional counseling can be effective in some forms of arthritis. For example, sugar can increase the inflammatory response in arthritis, while gout flares often occur after drinking wine. Cortisone injections are also effective in treating arthritis.
Biologics target specific parts of the immune system and may be used in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. In these conditions, Dr. Kerr will co-manage with the Rheumatologist or Gastroenterologist, who prescribe the biologics while Dr. Kerr helps the patients to manage the pain.
In addition to taking medications as prescribed, self-management strategies can help people who are living with arthritis. Excess weight can increase the stress on joints, so weight loss and weight maintenance can be vitally important in keeping pain under control. Although exercise is important to keep joints flexible, rest is also necessary. Each patient must work out a balance between the two. Supportive treatments like massage therapy, ice for inflammation or heat for muscle soreness can promote day-to-day comfort. Keeping a positive attitude also has an effect.
Dr. Kerr accepts most major insurance providers. Please call our office for more information.
" I think Dr. Kerr is great. She takes tons of time with each patient and explains things thoroughly...She is extremely smart and truly knows what she is talking about."
"...I wanted a doctor who was thoroughly experienced in administering medications...[and] I felt most comfortable with Dr. Kerr's background...I recommend..."
"I highly recommend her to anyone experiencing pain for any reason...she is well trained in managing these powerful medications and in understanding the nature of pain."
"Outstanding pain specialist. ..she does interventional therapies...I highly recommend."