What are My Options for Arthritis Treatment? | Revere Health

Arthritis is a progressive condition that causes joints to become damaged over time, and they can become inflamed or painful in many cases. This condition is most common in people over the age of 65.

Treatment methods for arthritis focus on relieving pain and improving joint function; there are also things you can do to lower your risk of arthritis. Here’s a look at the various treatment options available.

Medications

 

Medications depend on the type of arthritis. It’s important to follow safety precautions when combining any medications—speak to your doctor before taking a new medicine. Also be careful to note any side effects and talk to your doctor if a certain side effect is bothering you.

Medications for arthritis include:

  • Analgesics: These are medications that reduce pain, but do not have an effect on inflammation. Examples include acetaminophen, tramadol and narcotics containing oxycodone or hydrocodone.
  • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce both pain and inflammation. They include ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Some NSAIDs are only available in pill form, and others are available as creams or gels.
  • Counterirritants: Certain creams or ointments contain menthol or capsaicin, the ingredient that makes hot peppers spicy. Rubbing them on the joint may stop pain signals from transmitting.
  • DMARDs: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and slow the immune system from attacking joints.
  • Biologic response modifiers: These are drugs meant to target protein molecules in immune responses. They’re usually used in conjunction with DMARDs.
  • Corticosteroids: This class of medication reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.

Physical Therapy

 

Physical therapy and exercises can improve range of motion and help strengthen muscles to support your joints.

Natural Treatments

 

Certain natural treatments are available for arthritis as well. They include:

  • Supplements or herbs
  • Vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and vitamins C, D and E
  • Natural therapies, such as massage, mind-body activities, aromatherapy and others

Surgery

 

In cases where more conservative measures have not had success in reducing pain and discomfort symptoms, surgery might be the route your doctor suggests. There are a few potential options for surgery:

  • Joint repair: Joint surfaces can sometimes be smoothed or realigned to reduce pain and improve function. These procedures are commonly performed arthroscopically, or through small incisions over the joint.
  • Joint replacement: This is a procedure where the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. Hips and knees are the most common areas.
  • Joint fusion: This is a procedure that removes the ends of the two bones in the joint and locks them together until they heal into a single rigid unit. This is generally performed on smaller joints in the wrist, ankle or fingers.

Alternative Medicine

 

While there is little concrete evidence to support the use of certain kinds of alternative medicine, some people find that these alternatives can be helpful in conjunction with other treatments. These include:

  • Acupuncture: Fine needles are inserted at points in the skin to reduce pain.
  • Yoga or tai chi: Stretching movements associated with these exercises can improve flexibility and range of motion.
  • Massage: Light massage can increase blood flow and warm affected joints to help temporarily relieve pain.

If you’re dealing with arthritis pain, your doctor will help you set up a comprehensive treatment plan.

Revere Health Orthopedics is the premier provider of orthopedic specialty care in Utah. We offer a full-range of orthopedic services related to musculoskeletal conditions for residents and athletes alike.

Sources:

 

“Arthritis (Treatment).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20169117

“Arthritis Treatment Options.” Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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