As there is still no cure for rheumatic diseases, patients and caretakers need to know more about their treatment. When dealing with arthritis, whatever type it is, the main objective of treatment is to manage pain, prevent even further damage to the joints and improve function. The factors responsible for causing arthritis more often than not are incurable. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, physical therapy, drugs and surgery.
The preferred option is making lifestyle changes. This includes exercise programs, getting plenty of sleep, eating foods that are rich in omega-3 and ensuring you have a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. You can also make changes to your living area to make activities easier and reduce strain. Avoiding staying in one position for extended time periods and especially those that put stress on your joints will prevent flare-ups.
Losing weight has been proven to minimize symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight means less pressure is applied on your knees. Exercise programs like aerobics and strengthening exercises are recommended for people suffering from arthritis, but it’s important to not overdo it. You could include stress-reducing activities in your regimen and applying capsaicin cream over your joints.
Medicines used in treating arthritis either treat the symptoms of the condition or suppress inflammatory diseases. Painkillers, steroid tablets and injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs treat symptoms. Painkillers can be used for the various types of arthritis and work best if taken before strenuous activities or in regular intervals during flare-ups of pain. NSAIDs interfere with prostaglandins that trigger pain, fever and inflammation in the body. They reduce inflammation and relieve pain in all types of arthritis and help with conditions where inflammation is not the problem.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biological therapies suppress inflammatory diseases. DMARDs treat the types of arthritis that are inflammatory and sometimes even types of connective tissue disease. Biological therapies treat rheumatoid arthritis and may be used when DMARDs haven’t been effective. They are a newer class of medicines and were made with the purpose of blocking transmission of messages between white blood cells. This is what causes inflammation. Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs should be used carefully to minimize side-effects.
As there is no sure-fire method of treatment, a patient should receive all relevant information on how to treat arthritis. Some may prefer to try natural remedies to manage arthritis. These options include acupuncture supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, topical medicines, electric energy and chiropractic therapy. These methods may work for some and have no effect on others but as they are out there, then patients should know about them.
Arthritis is painful and limits your ability to enjoy life. For this reason, early diagnosis and treatment goes a long way in preventing joint damage. You should contact your doctor in case you experience pain in your joints that lasts over 3 days. Also severe joint pain that can’t be explained, swollen joints, having a hard time when moving the joint and if the skin around it is hot to the touch, are signs you should seek help. In case the diagnosis comes back positive, learning early on how to treat arthritis might keep it in check and prevent further joint damage.