Arthritis Specialist

Southern Pain Specialists

Interventional Pain Management located in Birmingham, AL

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of joint pain that affects more than 53 million American adults. To understand your arthritis symptoms and get relief from chronic pain and discomfort, visit Southern Pain Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama. Led by pain management specialist Kenneth Varley, MD, the team provides conservative and interventional pain management solutions for mild to severe arthritis. Schedule a consultation today by calling the office or booking online to get started with the right treatment.


What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and each with its own unique causes and symptoms. The types of arthritis are divided into categories based on the general causes of each condition. Categories of arthritis include:

Degenerative arthritis

Degenerative arthritis — also called osteoarthritis — is the most common type of arthritis that results from trauma, overuse, and wear and tear on your joints. It shows up mostly in the knee, shoulders, hips, and wrists.

Inflammatory arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis is caused by inflammation that attacks and damages your joints. It typically appears in multiple joints at once and may have flare-ups. Common types are rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

Infectious arthritis

Infectious arthritis occurs when an infection — possibly from a cut in your skin or surgery — attacks your joint. This is an emergency situation because the infection can cause serious damage to your joints in a short period of time.

Metabolic arthritis

Metabolic arthritis is the result of metabolic end products from your digestive system getting deposited into your joints. The most common type is gout, which shows up most often in the big toe as redness, swelling, and pain.

The location and severity of your arthritis symptoms are keys to identifying the type of arthritis you have and receiving appropriate treatment.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Arthritis is diagnosed through a consultation, physical exam, imaging — most often X-rays — and possibly blood testing. Dr. Varley always completes thorough exams to identify the cause of your arthritis symptoms and provide treatment as quickly as possible so you can get relief from your joint pain and discomfort right away.

How is arthritis treated?

Treatment for arthritis depends on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms. Conservative management of arthritis symptoms includes:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Changes to your diet, in cases of metabolic arthritis
  • Weight loss, if appropriate

For more complicated arthritis cases, Dr. Varley also provides advanced forms of therapy, including:

  • Nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
  • Facet injections
  • Viscosupplementation for chronic knee pain
  • Sacroiliac joint injections
  • Epidural steroid injections

To determine which treatment is right for you, Dr. Varley evaluates what you’ve tried in the past to relieve pain and then performs additional diagnostic tests to identify the exact source of your pain for the most precise, effective treatment possible.

Get help with your arthritis symptoms by calling the Southern Pain Specialists office or booking an appointment online now.