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ASK DR. ARTHRITIS: WHAT ARTHRITIS TREATMENT ACTUALLY WORKS?
Typing, opening jars, even something as simple as getting up and walking–we tend to take these activities for granted. But when you suffer from arthritis, getting these things done can be close to impossible.
Fortunately, there are numerous treatment options available to help manage the condition. The question is, which ones actually work?
We’ve rounded up some of the most common treatments and discuss what each one can do for your condition.
Statistically, 98 percent of people who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip are overweight and obese. Weight is one of the most obvious and critical risk factors and 50 percent of the reason why people develop osteoarthritis to begin with.
That said, weight loss can definitely be beneficial for anyone who suffers from any kind of chronic joint pain. The benefits of weight loss is actually twice more than what you would get from taking anti-inflammatory medication.
In addition, it also helps improve your overall health risks and reduce possibility of joint replacement surgery.
Like weight loss, getting regular exercise can prove to be very beneficial. Just half an hour of exercise daily can boost your body’s metabolism and also aid in weight loss.
If you suffer from arthritis however, you need to be very careful of what kind of exercise regimen you go for. Speak to a trusted physician to make sure that you’re not doing more harm to your joints. In a lot of cases, arthritis sufferers need to go for lower impact sports such as walking or swimming, or focus on strengthening exercises to help support the muscles around affected joints.
Complementary Treatment and Medicine
Most of the evidence surrounding alternative arthritis treatments are anecdotal, but this does not necessarily mean they are less effective than traditional options.
For instance, compression therapy, helps improve blood circulation in affected areas as well as helps manage pain and improve the overall condition of the joint. It can also provide warmth and offers support. Along with basic joint exercises, the use of compression therapy can be very beneficial for managing pain and even aid in the road to recovery.
In terms of medicine, there are certain alternative options that continue to receive conflicting results to this day. For instance, a commonly used medicine called glucosamine is believed to help relieve pain and reduce cartilage breakdown. While some will vouch for its efficacy, others will say the opposite. To date, there’s also little evidence that will definitively say the supplement is effective.
Other treatments, such as adding omega-3 fatty acids into your diet has more evidence to support its efficacy to reduce pain and inflammation. Ultimately, as long as you keep an open dialogue with your physician about alternatives that you want to try in conjunction with your current treatment, then you might be able to discover other options that complement traditional ones.
Arthritis sufferers are no stranger to pain. And to manage the symptoms of your condition, you’ve turned to good ol’ pain relievers to help you with it. And for good reason—they work.
Unfortunately, long term use of painkillers have been known to increase your risk of other equally worrying conditions. These include high blood pressure and heart attack, and could even prompt a heart attack or stroke.
Again, be sure to consult with your doctor before you use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The risk of side effects NSAIDs pose for older patients, especially ones who suffer from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal or renal problems are higher and it takes the expertise of a professional to weigh the pros and cons of the medication. Even paracetamol, which is a popular and common pain killer has come under scrutiny because of possible adverse effects it may have on your liver.
Other factors that require consideration include if a patient is a smoker, suffers from peptic ulcer disease or is currently on steroids or anticoagulants.
Keep these in mind before you try new treatments to manage your arthritis. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.