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Arthritis

Remedy Pain Solutions provides a wide range of non-surgical and non-narcotic treatments that address the root cause of your arthritis. We use advanced diagnostic techniques to trace the roots of your arthritis, whether it’s in your elbow, wrist, ankle, foot, back, neck, knee, hip, shoulder, or other parts of the body.

Based on the diagnosis, we provide regenerative and interventional solutions for arthritis, such as radiofrequency ablation, medial branch block, and PRP therapy. Please schedule an appointment at our medical centers in Marina del Rey or Manhattan Beach, California, to discuss your arthritis treatment options.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of one or multiple joints, leading to severe pain and discomfort, lack of mobility, and other problems. Arthritis takes numerous forms, but the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). While the symptoms of arthritis often appear in gradual stages, they can also appear abruptly in adults over 65.

Symptoms of Arthritis

  • Joint pains
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Loss of mobility
  • Limited range of motion
  • Redness around the joint
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Anemia
  • Joint deformity, if left untreated

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis is usually caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage, i.e., the connective tissue that maintains joint flexibility. The cartilage between the joints absorbs the shock produced by movements. As the cartilage tissues break down, the joints grind against each other during movements, leading to severe pain and discomfort.

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune disorder wherein the body’s immune system attacks the synovium. The synovium is a soft tissue that lubricates the cartilage and joints, allowing them to function optimally without friction. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can destroy the synovium, cartilage, and joints, leading to complete joint deformity.

Commonly Affected Areas Include:

  • Elbows
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Spine
  • Other joints in the body

Arthritis Treatments

Medial Branch Block

A medial branch block is a procedure wherein anesthesia is injected near the affected facet joints responsible for your back and neck pain. The injection is strategically delivered into the nerves transmitting the pain signals into the brain, i.e., the medial branch. Depending on the number of affected facet joints, you might need multiple injections for relief.

Medial branch blocks are generally suitable for patients with primary neck pain, arthritic changes in the facet joints, or mechanical low back pain. This procedure is usually recommended if an MRI reveals degenerative changes or hypertrophic appearances of the facet joints. Besides providing instant relief, this procedure also offers diagnostic information about the facet joints responsible for the arthritic symptoms.

Medial branch block may lead to three possible results:

  1. The pain doesn’t go away, which means it’s not originating from the blocked facet joints, a revelation with significant diagnostic value.
  2. The pain completely dissipates for a few hours or days, but it returns to the same location with the same consistency, quality, and intensity. This means the pain originates exclusively from the degenerated or arthritic facet joints.
  3. A percentage of the pain dissipates for a few hours or days, but it returns again. This indicates multiple pain generators in close proximity, i.e., the blocked facet joints are only responsible for some of the pain signals.

If the medial branch block works, the procedure will be repeated after 2 weeks to rule out false positives or placebo effects. If it works again, you might receive a rhizotomy or radiofrequency ablation for more permanent relief.

Rhizotomy/Radiofrequency Ablation

Arthritis often occurs within the joints of the spine. Each vertebral segment contains “facet joints” that ensure spinal stability and flexibility. Over time, the joints can become inflamed and irritated, leading to neck and back pain. The pain usually worsens after extended periods of sitting or standing. Radiofrequency ablation, also known as Rhizotomy, is one of the most effective interventional treatments for spinal arthritis of the facet joints.

Rhizotomy is a non-surgical and minimally-invasive procedure wherein heat is used to mitigate the transmission of pain signals from the joints to the brain. The radiofrequency waves are concentrated on the nerve fibers surrounding the affected facet joints, burning them into inactivity to mitigate the transmission of pain signals into the brain. Without the transmission of pain signals, you don’t experience any discomfort.

Radiofrequency ablation is performed as an in-office and outpatient procedure under mild sedation. The pain specialist will use fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance to ensure optimal precision. You can return home the same day and resume most of your daily activities with minimal downtime. This procedure is often suitable for patients who have found relief after nerve block injections, often a precursor to radiofrequency ablation of the nerves.

PRP Therapy

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy is one of the most effective regenerative treatments for arthritic pains. This procedure encourages your body to heal the affected cartilage and joints, thereby addressing the root cause of the pains. PRP is a component derived from a small sample of the patient’s blood. PRPs have a high concentration of growth factors, the components responsible for your body’s natural healing and growth responses.

When PRP is injected into the affected joints, it produces the following results:

  • Slows down the progress of osteoarthritis.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Stimulates cartilage formation to reduce joint friction.
  • Eases joint friction by increasing the production of synovial fluids.

PRP therapy doesn’t work immediately because it relies on your body’s capacity to heal itself, but it produces great long-term results. Your interventional pain specialists will determine the ideal treatment modality for you.