How Is Arthritis Treated?
Arthritis can be a challenging disease to live with. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition. However, doctors can help you manage your arthritis so you can live a healthy and full life. These are four facets of arthritis treatment that can help you get your arthritis symptoms in check and halt the progression of the disease:
1. Pain Management
Arthritis attacks a person's joints and can cause pain due to inflammation and joint degradation. Pain management is an important part of arthritis treatment. Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can be used to manage the pain of this condition. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are important in arthritis treatment because they reduce pain and decrease inflammation. Ibuprofen and naproxen are two NSAIDs that you can find over the counter. Your doctor may also write you a prescription for NSAIDs, such as meloxicam, to better control your symptoms. In some cases, additional drugs are used to control pain and swelling, such as prescription steroids or even narcotic painkillers.
2. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are caused by the body's immune system attacking its joints. Autoimmune arthritis can be treated using DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), which suppress the body's immune system to halt the attack of arthritis. Many DMARDs are also used to treat other conditions, such as cancer. DMARD use comes with some risks due to its immunosuppressive effects. However, your doctor can help you decide if the benefits outweigh those risks.
3. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is another important aspect of arthritis treatment. Rest is important when you experience an arthritis flare-up, but completely forsaking all physical activity can do more harm than good in the long run. Staying active can help you experience less pain on a daily basis. Physical therapy can help people with arthritis manage their condition. Your physical therapist can show you exercises that are safe for you to perform with compromised joints. By strengthening your muscles, you can lessen the strain placed on your joints to increase your mobility and decrease your chance of injury.
Finally, surgery is sometimes necessary to treat advanced forms of arthritis. Joints that have been severely degraded by this disease may need replacement to stop pain and disability. Knee and hip replacements are often used to help patients experiencing advanced-stage arthritis. Many people who undergo joint replacement operations make full recoveries and regain their full range of motion along with reduced pain.
Contact a local arthritis treatment service, such as Affinity Health Group, to learn more.