Arthritis falls within the rheumatic diseases, which are exemplified by different illnesses requiring varying treatments based on the person and the prognosis. The similarity between all forms of arthritis is they affect tendons, cartilage, joints, ligaments, and muscles. There are studies that indicate some internal areas of the body are affected by arthritis.
Arthritis Treatment Varies Based on Forms of the Disease
Because the forms of the disease are different, arthritis treatment can vary too. More than 100 known types of arthritis are currently on the books and that is increasing. Osteoarthritis is attributable to the wear on cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis comes from the overactive immune system, which causes inflammation. It is no wonder by the types and arthritis treatments that the disease is the most common illness of a chronic type in the U.S.
Worldwide, over 350 million people have arthritis. Contrary to what some people believe, arthritis does not only affect older people, because more than 50% of sufferers are under the age of 65. Women do make up a higher percentage rate at 60%.
Contributing Factors to Arthritis Treatment
There are many contributing factors to arthritis treatment. Not only does the type of arthritis play a hand in treatment, but the location, persistence, severity, and medical history of the sufferer also have a role. Arthritis treatment is customized by the doctor for each patient.
There are many forms of arthritis treatment that have been handed down for generations that still supply relief. These home remedies are often combined with nonprescription medications to decrease the cost of treatments, but some cases warrant very strong prescription drugs, surgical operations, and joint injections.
Obese or overweight people with arthritis may be asked to lose weight to reduce the stress on their joints. Treatments serve two general purposes. They should relief the pain and inflammation and they should contribute to joint health, both improving and protecting joint function.
One of the first actions prescribed by doctors is rest and carefully using the affected areas. Heat and cold compresses have some comforting effect and creams for pain do provide incremental pain relief. Extended use of joint supplements may provide some relief from osteoarthritis, especially those with chondroitin and glucosamine additives.
Many arthritis treatments are a matter or trial and error to see what works best. Supplements are controversial because of lack of clinical support, and most doctors suggest their use only if there is obvious improvement when they are taken. If there is no improvement within two months, a supplement is probably not going to help the situation.
Exercise can help strengthen up muscles around arthritic joints, taking pressure off those painful areas. This may include physical therapy, going to a fitness center, and/or a home program. Along with that, steroid injections into the problematic area may give substantial relief for months. This may allow people to dramatically improve their activity and avoid surgery, or at a minimum delay it.
Bracing may also help arthritic joints, such as a knee offloading brace or a back brace in a time of a pain flare up. A TENS Unit may also help decrease pain as well.
If a patient has mild to moderate pain, an over the counter medication such as Tylenol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories may make life much more tolerable. In those instances where pain is substantial, a short term course of narcotics can help a patient get through the rough patch.