A person with an arthritic hand holds a crayon while coloring.

5 Critical Risk Factors for Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints that can have incredibly painful progression and be quite debilitating. Since the condition does not really have a cure and is chronic, it’s best to take early action to control the symptoms that could affect your health.

Among the factors that increase the risk of developing arthritis are the following:

Family History

One of the biggest risk factors for developing arthritis is having a family history of it. Although we don’t fully understand the link between them or what the exact cause is, having a family member, such as a parent, a sibling, or even an aunt or uncle, with arthritis may increase your chances of developing it. Certain genetic markers impact the development of types of arthritis, including rheumatoid and psoriatic.

Obesity and High Body Weight

Higher body weight, or being obese, also significantly increases the chance of developing arthritis because it puts increased pressure and stress on the joints. You’re more likely to develop arthritis, especially in the knees, ankles, and hips, which is why it’s necessary to maintain a healthy weight and keep pressure off your joints.


Age is another common contributor to the development of arthritis and linked conditions. Continued wear and tear, occupational injuries, and other types of age-related activities can really take a toll on your joints and tendons, triggering the onset of arthritis. It’s why many older people develop certain types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, which is also linked to bone deterioration.

Previous Injury

What many people do not realize is that previous injuries also affect the development of arthritis. Trauma on a joint such as fractures, sprains, strains, and other injuries can lead to post-traumatic arthritis, which is difficult to manage because it happens suddenly and often intensely.

Infections and Diseases

Many infections, especially bacterial and viral, can cause deterioration of the joints and cartilage, leading to arthritis. There may be sepsis that triggers it or other diseases such as autoimmune disorders.


Houston Physicians’ Hospital allows you to find an orthopedic specialist in Houston, TX, who can help you find relief from arthritis symptoms. Let our experienced care team and orthopedic surgeons in Houston diagnose and treat your arthritis with the goal of slowing down its progression and reducing your pain.


A person with back pain holds their waist in pain.

What Is Inflammatory Back Pain?

Sixteen million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic or recurring back pain, which affects their activity levels, movement, and overall health and well-being. Back pain can result from a number of issues, including injuries, accidents, age, health conditions, and general inflammation.

Inflammatory back pain is a lot more common than we realize and affects millions of people each year. It’s a form of chronic back pain that is located at the axial spine and sacroiliac joints in particular.

Here’s what is important to know about it and how you can identify it:

Inflammatory Back Pain Starts before 40

Age is a major factor in mechanical back pain, which is why if you’re struggling with chronic, off-and-on-again back pain well before your 40s, it could be due to inflammation. People who are younger than 40 and generally healthy, without a history of past injury or other orthopedic conditions, are more prone to inflammatory pain.

It Responds Well to NSAIDs for Pain Management

Unlike certain other types of back pain, inflammatory pain responds well to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and other common anti-inflammatory medications. You might not need prescription-strength medication to manage pain, and it may subside on its own.

Exercise and Physical Activity Help Alleviate It

Lack of movement and sleeping can trigger inflammatory back pain, but physical activity such as exercise, stretching, and walking can help manage it. Morning stiffness and pain are most commonly associated with inflammation, which tends to subside as the day goes on so that you’re likely to experience some form of relief from it. If this sounds familiar, consult a spine specialist and a pain specialist in Houston, TX.

It May Be Linked to Other Symptoms of Inflammation

Another very common symptom or sign of inflammatory back pain is that it’s probably linked to other types of inflammation. Inflammatory bowel disorder, psoriasis, and joint pain in other parts of the body are some of the other issues that exist with it.


It’s important to consult an orthopedic spine specialist in Houston, TX, who can help you manage back pain and develop a treatment plan that will be the most effective for you. Our spine center at Houston Physicians’ Hospital is home to some of the most skilled and experienced specialists in the region. Visit our website to find a doctor who’s right for you.


A woman stretches her neck sideways with her hand on the opposite side.

Why Am I Having Neck Muscle Spasms? How Can I Treat Them?

Neck muscle spasms can feel like muscle tightness, stiffness, and sharp or achy pain, which can make movement incredibly difficult and painful for the sufferer. Your range of motion is typically more limited, and it’s harder to turn your head sideways or even stretch it properly for release.

But what causes muscle spasms to begin with? Let’s take a look at some of the many potential causes.

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs in the spinal column can cause inflammation in surrounding muscles and lead to spasms in the neck. Issues with intervertebral discs or the cervical spine in general need to be addressed quickly by a spine specialist so that the patient can seek treatment before the condition worsens.

Strains and Sprains

Sprains and strains can happen for various reasons, including moving your neck too fast, jerking and other sudden movements, injuries and accidents, and even sleeping in the wrong position. Basically, they occur when you stretch too far too quickly, injuring a ligament and causing healthy muscles to tighten and spasm as a protective measure.

Other times, strain on the muscle due to physical activity or carrying heavy bags, or even kids, can lead to muscle spasms.

A young man grips his neck in pain.

Facet Joint Arthritis

This chronic, degenerative condition can cause severe pain in the back and spine, making it very difficult to carry on day-to-day tasks and work as per your usual routine. A condition such as this requires a proper treatment plan and measures to slow down its progression, which is why we recommend setting up a consultation at the Houston Physicians’ Hospital spine center in Houston as soon as possible.

How Do You Treat Muscle Spasms?

Muscle spasms are treated in various ways. A spine specialist or multiple healthcare providers, including physical therapists, may come up with a plan to treat your spasms via stretches, intramuscular steroids—or other injections—medications, and addressing the root cause of your spasms if they’re a recurring issue.

Set up an appointment at one of the leading spine centers in Houston, TX, at Houston Physicians’ Hospital. You’ll find some of the most experienced spine specialists in Houston who can help manage and treat your neck spasms. Visit our website to find the right doctor for you and schedule an appointment directly with their office.


active seniors running for heart health

Peripheral Artery Disease: Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a cardiovascular condition caused by plaque buildup in the arteries in your limbs that causes the arteries to become narrower, restricting blood flow.

While PAD is a long-term health condition, it can be treated and managed. Here’s a closer look at this cardiovascular disease.

What Are the Signs of PAD?

The most common symptom of PAD is leg pain (claudication). Many people experience cramping or muscle pain when they’re walking or performing other physical activities involving leg movement.

Additionally, individuals with PAD may also experience:

  • Leg numbness
  • Discoloration in the legs
  • Hair loss on the toes or legs
  • Slower toenail growth
  • Erectile dysfunction

How Is PAD Diagnosed?

Diagnosing PAD may involve multiple stages. The first signs of the illness are typically detected during a physical examination. Your physician may notice an absent or weak pulse or hear whooshing sounds through their stethoscope. If they suspect PAD, you’ll most likely be asked to get an ankle-brachial index test or ultrasound done.

You may also require an angiography for more conclusive results. This test lets doctors observe the circulation within your arteries using an injectable dye and imaging techniques. Finally, blood tests are also usually required to determine your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

How Is PAD Treated?

So, how is the condition treated once it’s been accurately diagnosed? Physicians use various strategies to treat PAD. The treatment objectives are to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack and improve the patient’s quality of life. For this, physicians may turn to the following treatments, depending on the extent of symptoms or the specifics of the case:

  • Medications: You may be prescribed a combination of anti-clotting, sugar-controlling, cholesterol-lowering, blood pressure-lowering, and symptom-relieving medications.
  • Supervised Exercise Programs: Supervised exercise helps relieve leg pain and improves your ability to walk. It’s usually recommended for patients with severe claudication symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: You’ll be asked to adopt healthier dietary and exercise habits. Lifestyle adjustmentsalso include quitting smoking, practicing stress-relieving techniques, and managing other health conditions.
  • Surgical or Invasive Procedures: If the aforementioned treatments aren’t enough to treat your condition, you’ll require surgical intervention. This includes procedures such as balloon angioplasty, atherectomy, and peripheral artery bypass.

 man and woman dancing

If you or someone you love suffers from peripheral artery disease and is looking for a doctor, visit the Houston Physicians’ Hospital website today. We offer comprehensive heart and vascular solutions, along with neurosurgery, joint pain treatments, and essential tremor treatments.

Visit our website to learn more about our specialty hospital in Houston and find a doctor who’s right for you.