If you’ve been diagnosed with infectious arthritis, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed and maybe even confused, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the condition. The team at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists (IPRMS) in Arlington, Virginia, understands.
Our board-certified pain management specialists Talal Ghazal, MD, and John Huffman, MD, know the first step to overcoming any challenge is to understand it. Our team is committed to helping patients understand and manage different types of arthritis conditions.
We specialize in developing personalized arthritis treatment plans, tailored to your overall health, lifestyle, the specific type of arthritis you have, your unique symptoms, and your personal preferences.
In this post, we’re taking a closer look at infectious arthritis and the ways we treat it. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about your recent diagnosis.
What is infectious arthritis?
Infectious arthritis, often referred to as septic arthritis, is an inflammation of a joint due to a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. It usually starts when an infection in another part of the body travels through your bloodstream to a joint.
Common causes of this condition include bacteria like Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. Symptoms can appear suddenly and may include intense joint pain, redness, swelling, fever, and chills.
While anyone can get infectious arthritis, certain factors increase your risk. These include a weakened immune system, joint trauma, or having other types of arthritis.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important because if left untreated, it can lead to joint degradation. If you’ve been diagnosed with infectious arthritis, don’t wait to start treatment.
How is infectious arthritis treated?
When it comes to treating infectious arthritis, there’s a range of different therapies. The right one depends on the stage of your infection and whether any permanent damage has been done to your joints.
The IPRMS team starts with the least invasive strategies first, moving to more intensive treatments as necessary. Here’s a closer look:
Antibiotics and pain medicines
Antibiotics are usually the first line of defense against infectious arthritis caused by bacteria. Antifungal and antiviral medicines may be used for other infections. The medication and duration of your therapy depends on the cause of the infection and your health needs.
Pain relievers may also be prescribed to manage symptoms. Over-the-counter pain medicines might be all that’s needed in mild cases, but in more severe cases, stronger prescription painkillers could be required. These may be oral or topical.
Making key lifestyle changes can help ease your symptoms, managing and even preventing flares of arthritis pain. Your provider makes personalized recommendations, which may include dietary changes, regular exercise and physical activity, and losing weight as excess pounds strain your joints.
Holistic complementary therapies and alternative treatments can offer considerable relief in more advanced cases of infectious arthritis. Depending on your unique situation, your IPRMS provider may recommend one or a combination of the following:
- Physical therapy
- Biofeedback and relaxation techniques
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Your exact plan depends on the severity of your arthritis and how your body responds to other treatments.
In some cases of infectious arthritis, your IPRMS provider may suggest using advanced prescription treatments to target the inflammation and pain associated with your condition.
These may include COX-2 inhibitors, which target the enzymes causing symptoms, corticosteroids for help with inflammation, and immunosuppressants to control your body's immune response.
Minimally invasive treatments
When noninvasive treatments aren’t enough, your provider may recommend trying minimally invasive techniques to address pain and inflammation. At IPRMS, we offer peripheral nerve blocks to control pain and radiofrequency ablation using radio waves to minimize pain signals.
Our team also uses implantable therapies, such as peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) devices implanted in your body to interrupt pain signals and intrathecal drug delivery system (IDDS) devices to deliver medication directly to your spinal cord, which means smaller doses and fewer side effects.
In instances where your joint is severely affected or if other treatments aren’t giving you enough relief, we might recommend surgery. Surgeries may include draining the infected joint of fluid, surgery to remove infected tissues, and joint replacement.
Why seek expert guidance for infectious arthritis?
An interventional pain and regenerative medicine provider has the knowledge to diagnose the exact nature of your arthritis and personalize treatment options that best meet your specific needs and lifestyle.
Our providers at IPRMS closely monitor your progress, adjusting treatments as necessary, to give you comprehensive care that addresses not just your symptoms, but your overall health and well-being.
If you or someone you know is battling infectious arthritis, contact a provider at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone today.