Managing and Treating Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a chronic medical condition that causes inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints, and one of the primary treatment goals for arthritis is finding ways to manage pain effectively. There are a variety of methods used to block arthritis pain and discomfort, including both natural treatments and medications or other therapies prescribed by your doctor. Most arthritis treatment plans include pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications, though other types of pain management and therapeutic techniques may also be used to help relieve joint stiffness and pain and increase mobility. In most cases, a combination of therapies and treatments will work best in keeping arthritis pain and other symptoms at bay. Read on to learn more about the latest arthritis treatments for managing arthritis pain!
The most common method for treating mild to moderate arthritis pain is through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, while also blocking or minimizing arthritis pain. Other medications may include disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which are designed to slow the progression of joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. For arthritis pain in the knees, feet, elbows, wrists or hands, topical creams or ointments, such as prescription Pennsaid or Diclofenac or non-prescription capsaicin-based creams, can be beneficial, as well.
In addition to medications, alternative or natural therapies and arthritis remedies may also help reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Acupuncture has proven to be beneficial to many arthritis sufferers and has been backed up by several studies. Massage therapy can also be used to help relieve pain and help loosen stiff joints when used on a regular basis. In addition, many people with arthritis have found the use of hot and cold compresses or warm water therapy to be beneficial in decreasing pain and inflammation while helping to improve mobility. Physical and/or occupational therapy may also be recommended to increase mobility and movement in the joints, and can help relieve joint stiffness that interferes with daily life.
While vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements have not been clinically proven effective in treating arthritis pain, many arthritis sufferers have found relief through the use of supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) and rose hips. You should never take any herbal supplements, vitamins or minerals without first consulting your doctor, however, as certain drug interactions may occur.
In addition to medications and other therapies, maintaining a good diet and exercise regimen is important in managing arthritis pain and other symptoms. There are several foods that offer anti-inflammatory or other benefits that can help with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. These foods include fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring, dairy products, such as milk, yogurt or cheese, and foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits. Cherries, ginger, soybeans, broccoli, green tea and extra virgin olive oil can also prove beneficial in fighting the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
In cases where traditional medical or natural treatments prove ineffective in managing pain, surgery for arthritis may be recommended. The most common surgical option for arthritis is joint replacement (arthroplasty), which can vastly improve joint function and reduce or eliminate painful inflammation. Osteotomy, or joint-preserving surgery, may also be an option. Your doctor can help you decide which surgery is right for you based on your health history and other factors.
While the pain of arthritis may vary depending on the type and severity of the arthritis, understanding the ways arthritis pain and discomfort can be managed, minimized or eliminated is an important part of any arthritis treatment plan. Working closely with your doctor will be necessary in order to find the treatment combination that works best for you, and you may need to try several different treatment options before finding the best one for your specific needs and lifestyle. If you’re suffering with arthritis pain or other symptoms, talk to your doctor about ways you can manage your pain effectively through medications, natural treatments or diet changes, and other therapies.