Easing the pain of Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, "Arthritis isn’t a single disease; the term refers to joint pain or joint disease, and there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, races and sexes live with arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. It’s most common among women, and although it’s not a disease of aging, some types of arthritis occur in older people more than younger people." It is likely you know someone who suffers from arthritis, or perhaps you suffer from it yourself. Typical arthritis symptoms include joint stiffness, reduced range of motion, pain, and swelling. Arthritis also isn't a one size fits all disease; it can range in severity, onset, progression, and more.
So what do you do if you or someone you loved is diagnosed with arthritis? Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. Thankfully, there are things one can do to help ease the pain that often comes with arthritis. In order to properly treat and live with arthritis, it is important to get a proper diagnosis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). After getting a diagnosis, there are things that can be done to help modify the disease and improve pain.
Options For Easing Arthritis Pain
Reducing Stress on the Joints: For osteoarthritis, reducing the amount of weight placed on your joints can make a big difference in function and pain. Research has shown that for every pound of reduced weight, there is a four-fold reduction exerted on the knee per step.
Modifying Activities: Switching from running to walking or starting strength training or physical therapy to improve muscle strength can reduce the stress placed on the joints, are just a couple of examples.
Medical Treatments: Medication options include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such Advil, Motrin, Aleve or acetaminophen - brand name Tylenol - for osteoarthritis, as well as prescription medications called DMARDS (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) for rheumatoid arthritis. In cases of severe arthritis, joint replacement may be recommended.
Alternative Treatments: The Arthritis Foundation lists potential treatments that are currently being studied. Hopefully there will be a new treatment very soon!