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Arthritis Treatment


Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis is a condition than affects the joints. This joint disorder is always accompanied by inflammation. Joint pain or arthralgia is a common symptom of arthritis. The literal meaning of the term arthritis is inflammation of a single or multiple joints.  A joint is a junction where two bones of the body are connected. The role of a joint is to allow greater motion of the parts of the body connected by it.

Rheumatic diseases like arthritis have different complications, features, prognosis and treatments. One tendency these disease have in common is that they affect the joints cartilage, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Rheumatic diseases are also capable of affecting the internal body organs.

Arthritis exists in multiple forms, so far over 100 types have been defined. This number is still likely to increase. Osteoarthritis is associated with wear and tear in the body’s cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to inflammation caused by an immune system that operates on overdrive. The multiple forms of arthritis when combined, account for the most common chronic illness.

Arthritis affects men, women, adults and even children. Globally, over 350 million people suffer from arthritis. Of these figures, more than half are people under the age 65 years. Arthritis affects women more often than men.

Arthritis Treatment Goals

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis treatment  is designed to manage the disease. There are multiple treatment options you can consider for this condition. It is wise to try out various treatments in order to settle on one that is tailored towards your condition and unique needs. This can be a time consuming process. You may eventually end up with a combination of treatments for your arthritis.

Reducing the symptoms of arthritis is one main goal of arthritis treatment. Avoiding or reducing deformities and joint damage is also an important aspect of treatment. Treatment is also aimed at maintaining the proper function of your joints. One way is by allowing a greater range of joint movements or restoring your joint mobility.

Arthritis treatment also focuses on diminishing disease progression. Individuals experiencing early arthritis symptoms, will opt for arthritis self treatment. They may take over-the-counter drugs, use topical treatments or even have ice and heat treatments. If you experience arthritis joint pain, swelling or stiffness, it would be highly advisable to see your doctor.

If these symptoms last over two weeks, then an arthritis diagnosis to determine the appropriate arthritis treatment will be required.  Suitable treatment options can be discussed with an arthritis specialist or a rheumatologist. Your doctor will be in a position to discuss the benefits and risks of various treatment options.

Medications for Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

Medications have been used in the treatment of arthritis for a longer period than any other treatment option. Normally, a single or multiple medications could be prescribed for your condition. This is usually dependent upon the intensity of your arthritis symptoms. The following are the classes of drugs used in arthritis treatment.

  • NSAIDs  (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Biologics or biologic response modifiers
  • Analgesics or pain medication.
  • DMARDs or Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs
  • COX-2 Inhibitors

It is important to establish the reasons behind your doctor’s prescriptions. Find out how long they will take to show results and some of their benefits. Inquire about possible side effects and the criteria that will be employed to monitor you. For example regular blood tests may be required in some cases. Understanding the goals of your treatment plan will increase your likelihood of adhering to your medication plan.

Injections into the joint: There are multiple forms of injections that can be administered locally into affected joints. Viscosupplementation involves the use of  hyaluronates that are approved for the knees. These are gel like substances that are injected into the knee during this procedure. Their viscous properties serve as a synovial fluid supplement. Supartz, orthvisc, euflexxa, synvic and hyalgan are the five types of synovial fluid supplements.

Local steroid injections can be applied to particular painful joints. Most doctors only allow three steroid injections in one year. Before viscosupplementation became available as an arthritis treatment  option, steroid injections were already in use. Currently both options are in use and are administered according the patient’s preference.

Other Arthritis Treatment Options

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

Natural treatments: Natural arthritis treatment is more appealing to some individuals than the traditional treatment options. It is important to inform your doctor if you intend to use these natural options. Alternative treatments is another term used to refer to these treatments. Though popular, the safety and effectiveness of these treatments are not fully guaranteed.

Complementary arthritis treatment: The term complementary medicine is sometimes used in place of alternative medicine. However, complementary medicine is used in addition to the usual treatment. Alternative medicine has the implication that they can be used instead of the traditional options.

Glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin and fish oil are some examples of complementary arthritis treatment supplements.  Acupuncture, massage, biofeedback and chiropractic are also some forms of therapy that can alleviate arthritis pain and other symptoms. Other complementary treatments utilize Tai Chi, Meditation and magnets.

Exercise is very beneficial to arthritis sufferers.  An effective way to fight arthritis pain and improve your joint functions is through regular exercise. Exercise also increases muscle strength and adds quality to the life of people suffering from arthritis.

Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis Treatment

Dietary changes are necessary for conquering arthritis. Maintaining a nutritious diet helps a patient to retain an ideal weight and have proper bone health. Though no secret diet has been discovered to cure arthritis, a proper diet is essential. Reducing the risk of arthritis involves incorporating a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Stress management: This is a form of complementary arthritis treatment. Stress management helps to relieve symptoms. It alleviates the stiffness and pain linked to arthritis.

Joint surgery: When all other arthritis treatment options have been tried without success, joint surgery remains the final option. Some patients may also stop responding to the conservative treatment options. In other cases, the damage to the joint may be severe, resulting in regular interruptions to the patient’s daily routine.  Such a case will necessitate joint surgery aimed at alleviating pain and restoring the function of the joint.

Joint replacement, partial knee replacement and revision joint replacement are some surgical procedures commonly performed on the joints. Other joint surgery procedures include osteotomy, resection, Synovectomy, and arthroplasty. Arthrodesis involves joint fusion surgery. Some patients may be too young to undergo joint surgery procedures. Most of these arthritis treatment procedures are recommended for patients over 30 years of age.

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