Morris Hospital Rheumatologist Offers Relief for Arthritis Pain
April 3, 2017 – A rheumatologist is a specialist who can determine if a patient suffers from arthritis, and then recommend treatment and lifestyle changes to alleviate arthritis pain.
Dr. Belal Said, a board-certified rheumatologist with the Morris Hospital Rheumatology Specialists, is an expert in arthritis relief. He specializes in the diagnosis, management and treatment of musculoskeletal and rheumatic diseases. Many of the conditions he treats, like arthritis, are characterized by joint pain and inflammation.
“Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage layers that cover the bones inside the joints start to wear out. Cartilage makes the bones slide against each other smoothly, but when the cartilage is gone, the bones touch each other,” he explains. “This causes pain, stiffness and a grinding sound in the joint.”
Another common cause of arthritis pain is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that affects more than 1.3 million Americans, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
“Rheumatoid arthritis is where our own immune system, which protects us from infections, attacks the joint lining and triggers inflammation around the bones,” Dr. Said adds. “This inflammation causes swelling, redness and hotness in the joints. This leads to pain and stiffness, especially early in the morning.”
Relief from arthritis begins with finding ways to reduce inflammation in the body. A couple of the keys include maintaining body weight and staying active to keep joints moving.
“We recommend maintaining a healthy weight, since extra body weight puts pressure on your joint’s cartilage,” Dr. Said says. “Extra fatty tissue can produce proteins that trigger and promote inflammation in the joints, along with cartilage loss.”
Exercise helps strengthen muscles and stabilizes the joints, which also slows progression of the disease.
“We advise patients to be active, at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, and to quit smoking, which is one of the major causes of rheumatoid arthritis,” he adds. “Additionally, eating healthy fruits and vegetables with antioxidants decreases inflammation.”
Each type of arthritis requires its own treatment, including medications.
“Symptoms of rheumatic diseases are often non-specific, and can include fever, weight loss, skin rash, hair thinning, blood in the urine, dry eyes, and mouth and joint pain and swelling, along with many others,” adds Dr. Said. “If you’re concerned about unexplained symptoms, your primary doctor can refer you to a rheumatologist.”
For information, contact Dr. Belal Said, rheumatologist, at the Channahon Healthcare Center of Morris Hospital at 815-467-0555.