Arthritis is an umbrella term that encapsulates several conditions which affect the joints in the body. It involves swelling and stiffness in the joints, severe pain, and reduced usability of the affected areas. As such, it dramatically decreases the patient’s productivity and quality of life. As a rheumatic disease, it affects the connective tissue in the joint, leading to inflammation and swelling.
As a condition that affects more than 20% of the US adult population, several successful arthritis treatment regiments have been developed.
Many forms of arthritis are mild enough and can be successfully managed with analgesics even though they do not reduce the inflammation in the joint. Over the counter pain relief medications are good for quick pain relief. However, anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs treat the inflammation while also reducing pain.
Additionally, there’s a number of pain-relieving creams and ointments that are topically applied to the affected joint. This is oftentimes preferable to oral medication since their extended use can cause problems in the digestive system.
In situations where arthritis has autoimmune component, like rheumatoid arthritis, immune-altering medications are used to manage the symptoms i.e., the medication slows the immune system’s attack on the joint.
Exercise and physical therapy
In most forms of arthritis, regular exercise and physical therapy can help relieve the pain and regain normal range of motion in the affected joint. Moreover, physical activity releases a number of naturally occurring pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins. It’s important to note that vigorous, high-intensity exercises aren’t recommended as they can exasperate the pain and damage the joint.
Consequently, low-resistance hydrotherapy is oftentimes the best course of action in individuals affected by arthritic conditions – as the warm water additionally relaxes the joint.
Obesity can be a significant contributing factor in the development of various forms of arthritis due to a reduced blood flow and increased joint stress. Additionally, those extra pounds might increase the water retention in the body, leading to hypertension and other medical conditions which can worsen an already existing rheumatism.
Aside from improving an arthritic condition, weight loss has numerous positing impacts on the general health and wellbeing.
Some forms of arthritis, like gout and celiac disease, are heavily impacted by the everyday diet. In Gout, the increased consumption of red meat beer and other alcoholic beverages can worsen the condition, by promoting the crystallization of the uric acid.
In Celiac disease, for example, the elimination of the gluten intake is pivotal in managing the disease. The persistent joint pain associated with celiac disease usually subsides within several days of the diet change.
Surgery is used when the joint fails to respond to other forms of treatment – or when the connective tissues are damaged beyond repair. It involves the partial or total removal of the diseased tissue and replacing it with ceramic, plastic or metal prosthesis.
It’s an effective treatment with which normal joint range of motion is achieved. However, its invasive nature and fairly high price tag make it a last resort treatment, for the most extreme cases.
Today, there are multiple arthritis treatment options available on the market. The most optimal method is determined by the origin of the arthritic condition. Furthermore, they help millions who are affected by this debilitating condition to live normal, fulfilled and productive lives.