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How Can Arthritis Be Treated

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Cured Completely

Can arthritis be treated without surgery? – Benedict Khoo, Singapore Podiatrist

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The disease leads to wearing away of the joint tissue lining which leads to significant pain and joint deformity. It affects many people all around the world. People commonly ask if rheumatoid arthritis can be cured completely and also about the treatment options for it. This article aims at understanding these aspects of it and explore the possible treatment options.

Risk Factors For Arthritis

Certain risk factors have been associated with arthritis. Some of these are modifiable while others are not.

Non-modifiable arthritis risk factors:

  • Age: the risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
  • Sex: most types of arthritis are more common in females, and 60 percent of all people with arthritis are female. Gout is more common in males than females.
  • Genetic factors: specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis , systemic lupus erythematosus and ankylosing spondylitis.

Modifiable arthritis risk factors:

  • Overweight and obesity: excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
  • Joint injuries: damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
  • Infection: many microbial agents can infect joints and trigger the development of various forms of arthritis.
  • Occupation: certain occupations that involve repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.


More than half of adults in the U.S. with arthritis report high blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with heart disease, the most common comorbidity among adults with arthritis.

Around 1 in 5 of adults in the U.S. who have arthritis are smokers. Smoking is associated with chronic respiratory conditions, the second most common comorbidity among adults with arthritis.

  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Metabolic arthritis.
  • Symptoms Of Glenohumeral Arthritis

    Shoulder arthritis causes pain which is often made worse by movement and may make sleeping difficult. Pain levels tend to increase as the disease develops. If the glenohumeral joint is affected, the pain will be in the side or back of the shoulder and may feel like a deep ache inside the joint. AC joint arthritis causes pain at the top of the shoulder which may travel to the side of the neck. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect both the glenohumeral and the AC joint and may cause pain throughout the shoulder.

    Other common symptoms include shoulder stiffness and loss of movement which may make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as brushing your hair or reaching above your head.

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    Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Neck

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease where the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints. It often starts in the smaller joints of your hands and feet and can spread to other parts of the body like the neck as the disease progresses. This typically doesnt happen until years after the onset of arthritis symptoms.

    Neck pain is the primary symptom of rheumatoid arthritis in the neck, with the severity varying from person to person. You may feel a dull or throbbing ache in the back of your neck around the base of the skull. Joint swelling and stiffness can make it hard to move from side to side.

    The difference between rheumatoid arthritis neck pain and a neck injury is that stiffness and pain from an injury can gradually improve over days or weeks. Rheumatoid arthritis in the neck may not get better it can worsen if left untreated. Even if symptoms improve, inflammation, swelling, and stiffness can return with rheumatoid arthritis in the neck.

    How Is Arthritis Treated

    Can Arthritis Be Treated With Physiotherapy?

    The goal of treatment is to provide pain relief, increase joint mobility and strength, and control the disease as much as possible. Your doctor has a number of options to help you manage pain, prevent damage to the joint, and keep inflammation at bay.

    Treatment of arthritis could include rest, occupational or physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, drugs, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage. Your treatment plan may involve more than one of these.

    Treatments for osteoarthritis generally can help relieve pain and stiffness, but the disease may continue to get worse. The same was true for rheumatoid arthritis in the past, but treatments are now able to slow or stop the progression of arthritis damage.

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    What You Need To Know

    • Arthritis is damage to the cartilage in joints. Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage starts wearing down on the ball and/or socket sides of the shoulder joint.
    • Symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include pain in the shoulder joint, stiffness and reduced range of motion.
    • There are many nonoperative treatments for shoulder arthritis, including stretches, lifestyle modifications, application of ice or heat, and medication to control the pain.
    • Surgical options, such as shoulder replacement, are available to treat shoulder arthritis if nonoperative treatments dont offer the desired relief.

    Can Arthritis Be Scraped Out Of A Joint

    Arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that causes gradual damage to joints. Treatment is necessary to avoid further deterioration and restore mobility to the affected areas. One of the most prominent treatments for arthritis is joint restoration, where a surgeon essentially repairs or removes diseased tissue. Through this technique, surgeons can restore joint function while reducing the need for joint replacement.

    Learn more about arthritis and how joint restoration helps improve outcomes so that you can better appreciate this medical procedure.

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    What Are The Risk Factors For Arthritis

    Some factors make you more likely to develop arthritis, including:

    • Age: The risk of arthritis increases as you get older.
    • Lifestyle: Smoking or a lack of exercise can increase your risk of arthritis.
    • Sex: Most types of arthritis are more common in women.
    • Weight: Obesity puts extra strain on your joints, which can lead to arthritis.

    Alternative Medicine For Arthritis

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    A variety of alternative therapies is used for arthritis. However, none of these has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of arthritis, so they may not be effective or safe. It is important to let your doctor know if you’re considering these types of treatments.

    While some studies suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are as effective as NSAIDs for reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness in osteoarthritis, recent large studies funded by the NIH suggest these supplements are not very helpful, except perhaps in some cases. Typical daily doses are 1,500 milligrams for glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams for chondroitin.

    The antibiotic doxycycline may have some potential to delay the progression of osteoarthritis by inhibiting enzymes that break down cartilage. More research is needed to confirm these results.

    The NIH considers acupuncture an acceptable alternative treatment for osteoarthritis, especially if it affects the knee. Studies have shown that acupuncture helps reduce pain, may significantly lessen the need for painkillers, and can help increase range of motion in affected knee joints.

    The supplement SAMe has been shown in some studies to be as effective for osteoarthritis pain as NSAIDs.

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    What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis

    Symptoms of arthritis include limited function and pain in the joints.

    • Inflammation of the joints from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and warmth. Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present. Loss of range of motion and deformity can result. Certain forms of arthritis can also be associated with pain and inflammation of tendons surrounding joints.
    • Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the knees, hips, fingers, wrists, ankles, feet, back, and neck.
    • The pain may be intermittent or constant.
    • Some types of arthritis cause acute episodes of symptoms .

    Some forms of arthritis are more of an annoyance than a serious medical problem. However, millions of people suffer daily with pain and disability from arthritis or its complications. Moreover, many of the forms of arthritis, because they are rheumatic diseases, can cause symptoms affecting various organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints.

    Therefore, signs and symptoms in some patients with certain forms of arthritis can also include

    The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes include

    • injury ,
    • abnormal metabolism ,
    • inheritance ,
    • infections , and
    • an overactive immune system .

    Treatment programs, when possible, are often directed toward the precise cause of the arthritis.

    More than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

    What Medications Treat Arthritis

    For many patients with arthritis, mild pain relievers such as aspirin and acetaminophen may be sufficient treatment. Studies have shown that acetaminophen given in adequate doses can often be equally as effective as prescription anti-inflammatory medications in relieving pain in osteoarthritis. Since acetaminophen has fewer gastrointestinal side effects than NSAIDS, especially among elderly patients, acetaminophen is often the preferred initial drug given to patients with osteoarthritis. Pain-relieving creams applied to the skin over the joints can provide relief of minor arthritis pain. Examples include capsaicin, salicin, methyl salicylate, and menthol.

    Cortisone is used in many forms to treat arthritis. It can be taken by mouth , given intravenously, and injected directly into the inflamed joints to rapidly decrease inflammation and pain while restoring function. Since repetitive cortisone injections can be harmful to the tissue and bones, they are reserved for patients with more pronounced symptoms.

    For persisting pain of severe osteoarthritis of the knee that does not respond to weight reduction, exercise, or medications, a series of injections of hyaluronic acid into the joint can sometimes be helpful, especially if surgery is not being considered. These products seem to work by temporarily restoring the thickness of the joint fluid, allowing better joint lubrication and impact capability, and perhaps by directly affecting pain receptors.

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    What Is A Joint And How Does It Work

    A joint is where two or more bones meet, such as in the fingers, knees, and shoulders. Joints hold bones in place and allow them to move freely within limits.

    Most of the joints in our body are surrounded by a strong capsule. The capsule is filled with a thick fluid that helps to lubricate the joint. These capsules hold our bones in place. They do this with the help of ligaments. These are a bit like very strong elastic bands.

    The ends of the bones within a joint are lined with cartilage. This is a smooth but tough layer of tissue that allows bones to glide over one another as you move.

    If we want to move a bone, our brain gives a signal to the muscle, which then pulls a tendon, and this is attached to the bone. Muscles therefore have an important role in supporting a joint.

    Treatment Options For Rheumatoid Arthritis

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    The main goal of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis lies in achieving the lowest possible level of rheumatic disease activity, remission of the symptoms, minimizing joint damage, and enhancing physical function and the quality of life. The main objective lies in relieving pain, preventing joint and organ damage and reducing long-term complications. The treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis include medications, occupational and physical therapies including exercises and even alternative therapies and home remedies.

    The first and foremost target of treatment is to give stop inflammation as quickly as possible. As the inflammation is stopped the remission can be expected. The medicines prescribed are to ease the symptoms and to slow or stop the course of the disease to inhibit any structural damage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs , and biologics are the medicinal intervention techniques.

    Surgery is rarely recommended for people with the rheumatic disease but can be important for those with permanent damage which could be limiting the daily functions.

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    Use Hot And Cold Therapy

    Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.

    • Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
    • Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.

    When Should I See My Doctor

    Joints get sore and swollen for many reasons. It could be due to an injury, overuse, or doing a new type of physical activity.

    See your doctor if you have pain and stiffness that starts with no clear reason, lasts for more than a few days, and also causes swelling, redness and warmth. It is important to start treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition from getting worse and causing long-term damage.

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    Exercise For Arthritis In The Neck

    Physical therapy

    If youre experiencing neck pain due to arthritis, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy for neck arthritis entails doing specific exercises to help strengthen and stretch weak or strained muscles. Physical therapy can improve range of motion. Sessions and programs vary in length and frequency and are tailored to your condition.

    The foundation of what were trying to do in physical therapy for the neck is often to help improve posture and the way people move, says Dr. Milani. Exercises in physical therapy tend to be focused on strengthening muscles of the back and neck, which puts less strain on structures of the cervical spine.

    Youll do exercises during physical therapy and get instructions on ones to do at home.

    Regular Physical Activity at Home

    You may feel like you dont want to move when your neck hurts. But being inactive may increase stiffness, which can cause you to lose even more mobility. Aches and pains tend to respond better to continued movement than rest, says Dr. Milani. Exercise is often the foundation of treatment.

    Exercises that involve stretching, strengthening, and improving range of motion can help reduce pain and keep your neck limber. You want to move gently and smoothly when doing neck exercises, not jerk your neck or make sudden movements. You may feel discomfort at first. Stop if any exercise increases your neck pain.

    Other Forms Of Arthritis

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    If you have another form of arthritis, your doctor may recommend some of these same medications. NSAIDs are often recommended to help people with various forms of arthritis cope with pain caused by their condition.

    DMARDs are also used to treat other types of arthritis, like PsA and ankylosing spondylitis. Doctors often prescribe corticosteroids for people with various forms of arthritis because they can decrease inflammation.

    However, more specific treatments are required for some types of arthritis. For example, someone with gout might need to take a drug that lowers the bodys levels of uric acid. A buildup of uric acid crystals is what causes joint pain and swelling.

    Another example is someone with PsA who may need anti-inflammatory medications, such as a DMARD or a biologic drug. They may also need topical creams or light therapy to address the skin disease that can occur with PsA.

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    What Are The Best Treatments For Arthritis In The Hands

    November 19, 2019 By Alex Hirsch

    Arthritis can be disabling, especially when it is in the hands and fingers. It can prevent you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities such as work duties and preparing meals.

    Arthritis is a common disease that causes pain and stiffness within joints, including the hand. Appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms, but they can include medications, therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and surgery.

    How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed

    A single medical test is not available to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. To find out whether you have psoriatic arthritis, your doctor will do the following:

    • Look at your medical records.

    • Ask you specific questions. This usually includes questions such as whether any of your blood relatives have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

    • Examine your joints. This examination includes looking at your body to see whether you have swollen joints. Your doctor will gently press on the skin around certain joints to find out whether the area is tender.

    • Send you for medical testing. This may include x-rays and a blood test.

    Before giving you a diagnosis, your doctor considers your test results and everything he or she learned while meeting with you. In case youre wondering, the result from your blood test cannot tell whether you have psoriatic arthritis. It tells your doctor whether you have inflammation throughout your body. People who have psoriatic arthritis have body-wide inflammation. Many other diseases also cause body-wide inflammation. Inflammation is a piece of the puzzle.

    Because psoriatic arthritis can look like other types of arthritis, patients often see a dermatologist or rheumatologist for a diagnosis. A rheumatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. Rheumatologists and dermatologists generally have the most experience diagnosing and treating psoriatic arthritis.

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    Lifestyle And Complementary And Alternative Medicine

    Following your treatment plan can help reduce the signs and symptoms of PsA. Lifestyle changes and CAM may also help you manage and better cope with the disease, including:

    • Anti-inflammatory diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in protein, fruits and vegetables may help with PsA symptoms. You may benefit from avoiding processed foods, dairy, sugar, and red meat.
    • Exercise:Low- or no-impact exercises such as walking and swimming can help you stay physically active without placing too much demand on painful joints.
    • Identify triggers:Certain foods, activities, and stress can trigger PsA flares. Keeping a symptom journal can help you identify your triggers and avoid them.
    • Maintain a healthy weight: Staying within a healthy weight range helps reduce stress on your joints.
    • Reduce stress: Stress can trigger PsA flares. Manage your stress levels by finding time to relax each day.
    • Quit smoking:Smoking can worsen symptoms and may interfere with your bodys response to medication.

    Many people with PsA turn to CAM options to help reduce symptoms. Consult with your healthcare provider before seeking out CAM options. There are many different alternative therapies to consider to complement your traditional treatment, including:

    Everyone is different, so finding the treatments that are right for you may take time, trial, and error. Stay in close communication with your healthcare provider to find the treatments that are most effective for you.

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