Joint pain occurring in the knees, elbows, fingers, hip jaw or any other joint in the body is called as arthritis. Arthritis tends to be very painful as joints are surrounded by nerves that help joints to function effectively. An effective treatment regime can be beneficial in management of the disease. Try different treatments and stick to ones that show improvement with joint pains over a period of time. Deciphering the best treatment option for arthritis could be a long process and may differ from patient to patient.
Treatment Options for Arthritis
Several groups of arthritis medication work to combat arthritis symptoms. They enhance joint functionality and mobility and serve as savior for joint damage. Medications come in five categories.
NSAIDS (nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs)
NSAIDs have been utilized to manage arthritis since past thirty years. They possess analgesic, anti-pyretic and anti-inflammatory properties. NSAIDS may cause potentially severe side effects and hence, one needs to outweigh risks with benefits before using them. NSAIDS for arthritis include Ansaid (fluriprofen), Clinoril, Daypro, Feldene, Disalcid, Cataflam, Ibuprofen, Doloboid and many more. Inflammation and pain usually follow a circadian rhythm and therefore, NSAIDS may be much effective. A trial course of three weeks should guide, if the drug is working for you.
These are pain relieving drugs that work by blocking signals of pain to the brain or interfere in signal interpretation of the brain. Acetaminophen is the most frequently used analgesic. Narcotic analgesics like Percodan, Ultram, Duragesic and Talwin NX may be used for more severe pain.
These are potent drugs that can lower down inflammation and swelling of joints rapidly. They are mostly utilized in diseases like vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or polymyalgia rheumatic. Corticosteroid injections could also be prescribed by doctors that are injected locally into joint for relief. Trimacinolone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone and prednisolone are some of the known corticosteroids.
DMARDs (disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs)
DMARDs are referred as second line agents that act slowly but quite effectively. The effectiveness of DMARDs has been scientifically proven in treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs help to stop progression and restrict further joint damage and popularly known as “slow acting anti rheumatic drugs”. Azulfidine, Leukeran, cyclosporine, and myochrysine are few of the DMARDs drugs.
BMRs (Biologic Response Modifiers) help to rejuvenate the immune system to counter infection or disease. These drugs are derived from living sourcesunlike the rest of them that are chemically synthesized. Few from the lists are Simponi, Humira and Remicade.
Some people are more comfortable using alternative or natural treatments than traditional medications. There exist many options that may be popular but not completely proven for effectiveness and safety. Options are acupuncture, Tai chi, Meditation, yoga, chiropractic, static magnetic therapy and massage.
Complementary treatments, unlike alternative treatments could be used alongside the usual treatment regime. These comprises of regular joint stretching exercises for arthritis patients. Exercises on daily basis helps to improve physical activity, muscle strength and reduce joint pain. Having balanced, nutritious diet for maintaining weight and bone health is equally important.
Joint Surgery is the last resort, when all other treatment measures fall ineffective and it becomes significantly important to prevent any further joint damage.