3 Viable Treatment Options for Arthritis: Don’t Live With Pain
Thankfully, there are plenty of them!
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on January 24, 2023
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Unfortunately, one of the most common diseases that affect people today is arthritis. While it is unsure why this disease occurs in the first place (and there is also no cure for it), there are ways to diagnose and treat it. Thankfully, there are plenty of treatment options for arthritis. We are going to talk about the most common ones today.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
When it comes to diagnosing arthritis, the most common way for doctors to do it is to do a physical exam where they are going to notice swelling, warmth, and redness in your joints. Of course, you will also indicate that your joints are in pain and that you are feeling uncomfortable while moving them.
After the initial physical exam, there are a few laboratory tests that can be done in order to pinpoint the variant of arthritis that you have. It is important to do so because if you received osteoarthritis treatment, it would not be as efficient if you had another type of arthritis, such as gout.
To analyze which type of arthritis you have, the doctor will require some fluids for you. It is common to analyze blood, urine, and, of course, joint fluid. Obtaining blood and urine is probably something that you are familiar with, and joint fluid is obtained by using a needle which is inserted into joint space after the area is numbed.
Of course, there are also other ways to diagnose arthritis, and that is via different imaging techniques. X-rays, CT, MRI, and Ultrasound, are all valid ways to obtain information that can help doctors diagnose arthritis. Some of them are better at showing early damage, while others are better at showing arthritis progression and damage in certain joints and structures.
Treatment Options For Arthritis: How Is It Treated?
Since there is no cure for arthritis, people affected by this disease have to rely on several treatment options for arthritis. It’s important to note that the sooner arthritis is discovered, the more effective the treatment is going to be, as it will majorly slow down the progression of the disease.
Besides slowing down the progression, various treatments can also help treat some symptoms, and they will improve joint function.
Unfortunately, because there are different types of arthritis, not everyone will react the same to the same treatment. You should be prepared to try different treatment options for arthritis, such as knee surgery alternatives before you see any success. So, do not let yourself feel down if the first treatment is showing no effect.
Medications – the most common treatment option for arthritis
There is a vast amount of options when it comes to medication used to treat arthritis.
The first group of medication that is used to treat arthritis are NSAIDs, which stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs can relieve pain, but more importantly, they will reduce the inflammation that your body is causing in the area affected by arthritis.
The other group is counterirritants, which are creams and ointments with a spicy side. We are talking about menthol or capsaicin, which, when rubbed into the skin, interfere with pain transmission signals to the joint and thus help relieve some symptoms.
Steroids are another type of medication that is common in treating arthritis. Prednisone is a good representative, as it is commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation around joints. You can receive steroids in a pill or an injection, depending on your need. While steroids are quite effective, they do come at the cost of thinning bones and increasing your weight and the risk of having diabetes.
Last but not least are DMARDs, which are disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. These are the drugs that are commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis as they will save tissues and joints from permanent damage. While they are one of the most effective treatment options for arthritis, their adverse effect is that they usually increase the risk of other infections.
Therapy and surgery as treatment options for arthritis
While medication is the most common way of treating rheumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout treatment, there are also other, more intense treatment options for arthritis. We are talking about therapy and surgery.
- Physical therapy is shown to be quite effective at treating arthritis, especially if it is detected in the early stages.
- When it comes to surgery, there are a few different variants of what a patient can expect from surgical procedures. The three most common surgeries are joint repair, joint replacement, and joint fusion. Which procedure is best for you depends on how your arthritis is progressing.
Even if medication treatment is the only option that you have at the moment, that does not mean that you should give up on the idea of a cure. Medicine is evolving every day, and treatment options for arthritis become better with new discoveries. It is only a matter of time before a cure is discovered.
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