Alternative Medicine For Arthritis
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.
Stage 4 Hip Osteoarthritis
Since osteoarthritis is a progressive illness, eventually you may experience Stage 4 osteoarthritis in one or both hips. At this point, the cartilage would have become so thin and brittle and the synovial fluid so diminished that you experience pain and stiffness most of the time, even when youre not moving. Sometimes the pain can be very severe and can make it difficult for you to complete even the simplest of tasks, and can keep you awake at night too.
Hopefully by this stage you have been seeing an orthopedic surgeon, because your quality of life can greatly improve with the help of the right physician. They can review your options with you, which may include surgery to replace some or all of the arthritic hip. The surgical procedures available today are very successful, with faster and easier recoveries than ever before, and you can be left with a hip free of arthritis and free of pain.
Read Also: Arthritis In Fingers Prevention
Eating Right Nourishes Joints
Eating a healthy diet is good for your joints, because it helps build strong bones and muscles.
For your bones, make sure you get enough calcium every day. You can do this by eating foods such as milk, yogurt, broccoli, kale, figs, and fortified foods like soy or almond milk. If those foods dont tempt your taste buds, ask your doctor if calciumsupplements are right for you.
For your muscles, you need to get enough protein. Exactly how much you need depends on your age, sex, and how active you are. Most Americans get enough protein. Good sources include lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes, soy products, and nuts. Go for a variety.
You also need vitamin D to keep your bones and joints in good health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the foods you eat. Dairy products. many cereals, soy milk, and almond milk are fortified with vitamin D. You can ask your doctor about the proper amount of vitamin D and ways you can get it.
Oranges may also give your joints a healthy boost. Some studies suggest that vitamin C and other antioxidants can help keep your joints healthy.
Don’t Miss: Hand Arthritis Remedies
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee:
- Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises .
- Difficulty walking.
- Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.
- Warm skin.
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.
Diagnosing Foot & Ankle Arthritis
Arthritis refers to inflammation in the joints that results in joint damage. There are many types of arthritis that develop for different reasons, but nearly all cause pain and stiffness in the affected joints, which can limit movement. Arthritis can involve physical changes in the tissues that make up a joint, including cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. For example, if the smooth material that lines and protects the joints and cushions the bones, called cartilage, is damaged, the bones may rub directly against one another. This increased friction may cause hard growths called osteophytes or bone spurs to develop, causing increased pain and interfering with joint movement.
Arthritis may affect one or more of the 33 joints in the foot and ankle. These joints allow the foot and ankle to be flexible and to absorb the weight of the body during movement. People with foot or ankle arthritis may experience pain and discomfort when standing, walking, participating in sports, or performing other physical activities.
Foot and ankle arthritis pain often follows a recognizable pattern. People tend to feel aching pain and stiffness after a period of inactivity, as when getting up in the morning or rising from a chair after sitting for an hour or more. Walking and other everyday movements may help relieve this start-up discomfort, but arthritis pain usually returns after prolonged activity.
Also Check: Mayo Clinic On Arthritis
Home Remedies For Arthritis
In addition to treatments recommended by your doctor, you can use dry heat from a heating pad or moist heat in the form of a hot bath or a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel to help relieve pain and stiffness. Heat and rest are very effective in the short run for most people with the disease. Regular exercise is also important to keep the joints mobile.
If you are overweight, losing weight is key, especially when arthritis affects the lower back, knees, and legs. Extra pounds add to the load and pressure on your joints, which can cause your arthritis to get worse faster. Being overweight also raises your chances of related health problems. Consult a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy weight loss program.
People with weakened, badly deformed fingers from rheumatoid arthritis benefit from specially designed utensils and door and drawer handles people with weakness in the legs and arms can use special bathroom fixtures, especially tub rails and elevated toilet seats.
Although arthritis may not be preventable, disability is — with a well-designed treatment program, including medications, exercise, and physical therapy when needed.
Here are some more things you can do to help keep the condition in check:
Educate yourself. Take a self-management course to learn specifics on day-to-day arthritis care.
Get active. Exercise can help you move better, lessen pain, and put off disability.
Making A Diagnosis Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Diagnosis of RA is not straight forward as there is no individual test for RA. A diagnosis tends to be made by a consultant rheumatologist on the basis of tests, examination and ruling out other possible causes for symptoms.
Sometimes it is clear from symptoms and initial blood tests that someone has rheumatoid arthritis, but not always. Specialist criteria have been developed jointly by American and European experts to try to help make a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in people presenting with new-onset swollen, painful joints with no obvious cause . These should be used with care though as people with osteoarthritis or a crystal arthritis could meet the criteria and end up being incorrectly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which could have significant consequences for treatment. They have also been developed to classify, not diagnose, rheumatoid arthritis and so should not be used to decide who gets referred.
As already mentioned above, there are a number of other conditions that can cause very similar symptoms to rheumatoid arthritis and your GP will have to consider these when assessing each case.
Recommended Reading: Ease Arthritis Pain In Fingers
How To Know If You Have Hip Arthritis
Having problems with one particular routine task is a common giveaway that hip arthritis is affecting your life: putting on your socks and shoes. You need an adequate range of motion in your hips to put your foot up on your opposing leg to put on your shoes and socks. People with hip arthritis tend to lose the range of motion in the hips. Problems putting on your socks and shoes are not always associated with pain but rather just becomes more difficult to do.
You can also tell how long you have been affected by hip arthritis by looking back at how long you have been having problems putting on your socks and shoes. Hip arthritis can onset rapidly and deteriorate the range of motion in the hips quickly. A patient can go from seeing no signs to needing a hip replacement in less than 24 months.
While that is a common symptom, there are many others that a person could be experiencing. Regardless of the type of arthritis, other signs of hip arthritis can include:
- Pain in the groin or thigh that radiates to your knee, outer thigh or buttocks.
- Pain that is worse in the morning or after sitting for a while.
- Flare ups after vigorous activity.
- Limping or pain that causes difficulty walking.
- Sticking or locking of the hip joint.
- Difficulty getting out of a car.
- Pain when leaning over.
- Increased pain in rainy weather.
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.
Recommended Reading: Rheumatoid Arthritis Article
Preventing Arthritis Of The Knee
Whats The Outlook For Someone Living With Arthritis
Since theres no cure for arthritis, most people need to manage arthritis for the rest of their lives. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right combination of treatments to reduce symptoms. One of the biggest health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. If you become sedentary from joint pain, you may face a greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.
Don’t Miss: Mild Psoriatic Arthritis Rash
Rheumatoid Arthritis Initial Diagnosis
There is no single test that can definitively diagnose RA.
As with other illnesses, diagnosis of RA typically begins with your doctor getting your medical history and conducting a physical exam.
You doctor will begin by asking questions about the symptoms you’re experiencing, including when and how they occur and how they’ve changed over time . One specific symptom they will ask about is morning joint stiffness that lasts for at least 30 minutes and occurs in the peripheral joints rather than the lower back a common RA symptom.
The other main symptom is swelling of the joints that lasts for at least six weeks, particularly if the swelling occurs on the same joints on both sides of the body. Swelling that occurs for less than six weeks could be a sign of multiple different things an example is acute viral polyarthritis, an inflammation of the joints caused by a virus.
Arthritis Care & ResearchAutoimmunity Reviews
What Else Could It Be
When a doctor thinks about how likely you are to have one disease over another, or over several others, this is called a differential diagnosis. There are many conditions your doctor may consider besides RA, and besides other forms of autoimmune arthritis:
Polymyalgia rheumatica: This is more common over age 50, generally less painful than RA, and associated more with shoulders and hips.
You May Like: Can Osteoarthritis Turn Into Rheumatoid Arthritis
Start With Conservative Hip Pain Treatment
When youre first diagnosed with hip arthritis, Dr. Bauman says, You want to try conservative measures before even considering surgery. These include:
- Activity modification
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil, Aleve, and ibuprofen
- Injections into the hip joint
- Physical therapy
Dr. Bauman adds, Weight loss is oftentimes helpful in alleviating some of the pain of hip arthritis because any loss is weight thats not going through your joint when you go up and down stairs. While losing weight may slow some of the effects, it wont reverse damage caused by arthritis.
While theres no evidence that physical therapy limits the progression of arthritis or delays the need for surgery, physical therapy can help maintain strength in muscles that support the joint.
Dr. Ryan Bauman talks about conservative, nonsurgical treatment measures for hip pain.
Surgical treatment methods are only considered after all nonsurgical options have been tried without success.
What Is Involved In Reviewing Your Medical History And Your Current Symptoms
When reviewing your medical history, your healthcare provider may ask the following questions:
Have you had any illnesses or injuries that may explain the pain?
Is there a family history of arthritis or other rheumatic diseases?
What medication are you currently taking?
Your healthcare provider may also ask:
What symptoms are you having? For example, pain, stiffness, difficulty with movement, or swelling.
About your pain:
What makes it worse?
You May Like: Vicks Vapor Rub For Arthritis
Lab And Blood Tests For Ra
Here are some of the things you can expect to happen at your appointment if the doctor thinks you have RA.
Personal and family medical history: Your doctor will ask about your past and your relativesâ. If someone in your family tree has RA, you may be more likely to have the disease.
Physical exam: The doctor will check your joints for swelling, tenderness, and range of motion. RA tends to strike several joints.
Antibody blood tests: Doctors look for certain proteins that show up in your blood when you have RA. These proteins mistakenly target healthy cells and kick off the inflammation process. So a high or positive test result means inflammation is in your body.
- Rheumatoid factor : high levels
- Anti-CCP : high levels
- ANA, or antinuclear antibodies: the results are positive or negative
Not all people with RA have these proteins.
Other blood tests: Besides RF and anti-CCP, other blood tests could include:
Complete blood count: It helps your doctor find anemia , which is common in RA. It looks for four things:
- White blood cells 4.8-10.8
- Hematocrit 42-52
- Platelets 150-450
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate: This measures how fast your red blood cells clump and fall to the bottom of a glass tube within an hour. Your doctor might call it a sed rate.
Normal ranges are:
- Men younger than 50: 0-15 mm/h
- Men older than 50: 0-20 mm/h
- Women younger than 50: 0-20 mm/h
- Women older than 50: 0-30 mm/h
Infectious And Reactive Arthritis
Infectious arthritis is an infection in one of your joints that causes pain or swelling. The infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. It can start in another part of your body and spread to your joints. This kind of arthritis is often accompanied by a fever and chills.
Reactive arthritis can occur when an infection in one part of your body triggers immune system dysfunction and inflammation in a joint elsewhere in your body. The infection often occurs in your gastrointestinal tract, bladder, or sexual organs.
To diagnose these conditions, your doctor can order tests on samples of your blood, urine, and fluid from inside an affected joint.
The fingers are most commonly affected with psoriatic arthritis , but this painful condition affects other joints as well. Pink-colored fingers that appear sausage-like, and pitting of the fingernails, may also occur.
The disease may also progress to your spine, causing damage similar to that of ankylosing spondylitis.
If you have psoriasis, theres a chance you could also develop PsA.
Read Also: Vicks Vaporub For Arthritis
Do Drugs The Right Way
Take your medication just as your doctor prescribes. Call your doctor first if youre tempted to stop because you feel its not working or believe its causing side effects. It can take weeks or even months for a medications full benefits to become apparent, and some side effects ease over time. Stopping medication abruptly may not only cause you to miss out on its benefits in some cases, but it can also be downright dangerous.
You May Like: What Arthritis Mean