Arthritis is one of the worst problems to deal with as you get older. In addition to the pain it causes, which can be unbearable, it also limits your mobility and dexterity. This, in turn, keeps you from being able to do many of the things you used to enjoy on a daily basis. Is there any cure? Sadly, no, but there are a number of treatments that can help alleviate the pain and get you active again. If you suffer from chronic joint pain yourself, here are a few options you might consider.
For mild forms of arthritis, a doctor might recommend a simple, over-the-counter painkiller, such as Advil or Tylenol. These can relieve basic pain and help the patient immensely. For more severe forms of the affliction, though, you’ll likely need a prescription-strength drug.
A Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) can help to reduce stiffness and swelling and relieve pain. They can also have negative side effects, though, including a variety of digestive problems. Therefore, this type of treatment is only a temporary fix. Such medications should be taken in as low a dose as possible, and only for a short time.Otherwise, you risk causing permanent damage.
You can also use certain steroids to treat your arthritis. Either injected or in pill form, they reduce pain and inflammation. Unfortunately, they also have side-effects if taken for too long, including osteoporosis. Because of this, much like NSAIDs, they’re used for as short a time as possible.
In place of, or perhaps in addition to, a drug regimen, certain types of physical therapy can be helpful in reducing the effects of arthritis. For example, physiotherapy determines specific actions and activities that will help your particular situation and get rid of the pain long term. It may also include massages, heat or ice packs, and more.
Hydrotherapy, on the other hand, involves working out in a pool of warm water. As you float, there’s less pressure on your joints and muscles, allowing you to exercise them more easily and build up their strength.
Finally, occupational therapy provides ways for you to continue performing the tasks in your everyday life that arthritis prevents you from doing. In addition to exercises, it provides you with specialized equipment that makes these activities more manageable.
This is an extreme measure, but if your arthritis is severe enough, and other treatments aren’t helping, there may be a surgical solution to alleviate the pain. If the problem is in a specific joint, then you might be able to have it replaced.
Hip replacements are probably the most commonly known surgeries of this type, but you can also get a new knee, shoulder, or elbow, among other things. These procedures have evolved a lot over the years, and are much more effective than they used to be.
There are even types of non-invasive surgical procedures, performed using needles and cameras, which help diagnose the problem properly as well as treat it. This is called arthroscopy, or keyhole surgery.
It used to be that if you had arthritis, you just had to live with it. As the disease progressed, there would be fewer things you could do in your daily routine, and the pain would get steadily worse. However, medical science has come a long way since then.
Between drugs, therapies, and other procedures, there’s no reason why you can’t continue living a normal, active life, even with the disease. If you suffer from arthritis, talk to your doctor about the treatments mentioned above and see what they recommend to help you relieve the pain.