Other Pain Relief Treatments
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
A TENS machine sends electrical pulses to your nerve endings through pads placed on your skin. It produces a tingling sensation and is thought to relieve pain by altering pain signals sent to the brain. The research evidence on the effectiveness of TENS is mixed, but some people do find it helpful. A physiotherapist will be able to advise on the types of TENS machine available and how to use them. Or they may be able to loan you one to try before you buy.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid, or hyaluronan, is a lubricant and shock absorber thats found naturally in the fluid in your joints. Injections of hyaluronic acid have sometimes been used as a treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The treatment isnt currently available on the NHS because research evidence on its long-term effectiveness is mixed. The treatment is, however, available privately.
How Is Restless Leg Syndrome Diagnosed
Theres no one test for RLS. Your doctor will take your medical history and ask you to describe your symptoms. A clinical diagnosis for RLS is based on the following five criteria:
- You have a strong, overwhelming need to move the legs that is often associated with abnormal or uncomfortable sensations.
- Your symptoms start or get worse when youre resting or inactive.
- Your symptoms are partially or temporarily relieved by movements.
- Your symptoms start or get worse at night.
- Your symptoms are not caused by any other medical or behavioral condition.
Your doctor may also do a physical and neurological exam, check your iron levels, and run lab tests to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms. You may also be referred to a sleep specialist to help determine other causes of your sleep disruptions.
Arthritis Treatment: Occupational Therapy
Protecting your joints is an important part of arthritis treatment. With the help of an occupational therapist, you can learn easier ways to do your normal activities. An occupational therapist can teach you how to:
- Avoid positions that strain your joints
- Use your strongest joints and muscles while sparing weaker ones
- Provide braces or supports to protect certain joints
- Use grab bars in the bath
- Use modified doorknobs, canes, or walkers
- Use devices to help you with tasks such as opening jars or pulling up socks and zippers
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What Causes Arthritis Of The Knee
Experts have identified some genes that might cause arthritis, including arthritis of the knee. They predict that there are more genes not yet discovered. You could have a gene linked to arthritis without knowing it and a virus or injury could trigger arthritis of the knee.
Though the cause is unknown, some risk factors increase the possibility of arthritis of the knee. Risk factors of osteoarthritis, specifically, include:
- Age. Osteoarthritis happens to older adults more often than younger adults and children.
- Bone anomalies. Youre at a higher risk for osteoarthritis if your bones or joints are naturally crooked.
- Gout. Gout, also a type of inflammatory arthritis, might lead to osteoarthritis.
- Injuries. Knee injuries can cause arthritis of the knee.
- Stress. A lot of stress on your knees from jogging, playing sports or working an active job can lead to osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Weight. Extra weight puts more pressure on your knees.
Important Considerations For People With Arthritis Of The Hip
There is no cure for arthritis. Typically, it starts gradually and worsens over time. Eventually, all forms of arthritis of the hip may permanently damage the hip joint. While osteoarthritis is more common in older people, there are forms of arthritis that affect younger people.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help minimize the effect of arthritis, and we are glad to discuss these option.
- 22% of the U.S. population in 2010 reported some form of arthritis
- Among adults over 65, 50% have some form of arthritis
- The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis
- Weight loss of just 11 pounds can reduce a womans risk of developing knee arthritis by 50%
- Of working age people , one-third of those who had arthritis reported it limited their ability to work
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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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.
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.
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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 Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Arthritis Of The Knee
It might be helpful to arrive at your healthcare providers office with a list of questions you want or need to be answered. Consider:
- Do I have arthritis in one knee or both?
- What type of arthritis do I have?
- Whats a possible cause of my arthritis?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- What medications should I take?
- Do I need physical therapy?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Knee arthritis can affect people of all ages. Its painful, impairs movement and causes swelling of the joint. Some people are so disabled by it that they cant work anymore. Others can only work after surgery. Meanwhile, for others, the pain isnt necessarily as bad, but it still prevents them from regular activities like cleaning, gardening and running after their kids.
Arthritis of the knee can decrease your quality of life. The good news is that treatments can lessen the severity of your symptoms. The pain and swelling might not be as bad. See your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment if you have symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/18/2021.
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Risk Factors For Hip Arthritis
- Age. The older you are, the more likely you have worn out the cartilage in your hip joint.
- Excess weight. Being overweight or obese puts additional stress on the hips.
- Injury. Severe injury, such as a hip fracture or labral tears, can cause arthritis years later.
- Overuse. Jobs and sports that require physically repetitive motions that place stress on the hip can increase risk for developing osteoarthritis.
- Gender. Women who are postmenopausal are more likely to develop hip osteoarthritis than men. Rheumatoid arthritis affects women more than men.
- Structural or developmental abnormalities. Irregularly shaped bones forming the hip joint, such as with hip dysplasia and impingement, can lead to abnormal stress on the cartilage.
- Autoimmune triggers. While the causes of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis remain unknown, triggers of autoimmune diseases are an area of active investigation. For example, infection is believed to be one of the triggers for psoriasis.
- Genetics. Certain autoimmune conditions that lead to hip arthritis may run in the family.
- Other health conditions. People with diabetes, high cholesterol, hemochromatosis and vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
Develop An Arthritis Pain Management Strategy
A person can work with a doctor to develop a plan for managing arthritis pain.
Where possible, it is important to avoid going to bed in pain. A doctor can recommend an appropriate pain relief medication to prevent pain before bedtime. They might suggest:
- nighttime release arthritis drugs
- drugs that work for 24 hours
- an evening dose of pain medication
Identifying and managing arthritis triggers can also be helpful. A person can try keeping a pain and sleep log to determine and address any patterns that seem to worsen sleep or pain.
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Causes Of Chronic Swelling Of One Leg
Sometimes it is obvious that the swelling is chronic. For instance, someone is born with one leg larger than the other. But, perhaps surprisingly, sometimes it is hard to know. Many chronic conditions can go unnoticed and then suddenly become apparent. Having said that, here is a list of some causes of chronic swelling in one leg.
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Loss Of Joint Range Of Motion
As the joints of rheumatoid arthritis become more inflamed with active disease, they tend to have an incomplete range of motion. The range of motion is limited by the swelling within the joint. This is typically associated with weakness in the involved areas.
- Joints affected by longstanding rheumatoid arthritis commonly lose range of motion permanently.
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When Osteoarthritis Causes Muscle Spasms
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that impacts a persons joints. It occurs when the tissue in a persons joints begins to erode. OA is the most common type of arthritis, and most often impacts the joints in the knees, hips, spine, and hands. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis:
- Pain and tenderness in the joint
- Muscle spasms
Many people experience osteoarthritis symptoms to varying degrees as they age. Early identification can help reduce the severity of pain, inflexibility, and muscle spasms.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA results from a problem with the immune system. When a persons immune system is healthy, it helps to fight infection. In people with RA, the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the lining of their joint, resulting in inflammation of the joints, making them swollen, stiff, and painful.
People who have RA will have some periods where they experience no symptoms and other times when the symptoms flare up.
Currently, there is no cure for RA, but proper treatment and moderate exercise may help reduce flares. If RA is left untreated, the joints, cartilage, and bones in affected areas can become damaged.
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Can Surgery Be Used To Treat Heart Failure
In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the hearts function. Procedures used include:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is . Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
- Heart valve surgery. Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically and non-surgically .
- Implantable left ventricular assist device . The LVAD is known as the bridge to transplantation for patients who havent responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
- Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it doesnt respond to all other therapies, but the persons health is otherwise good.
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What Are The Less Common Forms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can begin in less common forms. For example, it can begin with the involvement of only a single joint or a few joints. Sometimes, this can later evolve to the more common presentation of many joints on both sides of the body.
- Rarely, the earliest symptom of rheumatoid disease is inflammation of a body area that does not even involve a joint. For example, the lining of the lungs can become inflamed to cause pleurisy many months before arthritis develops.
- Occasionally, only a few joints are involved and the doctor may suspect another type of inflammatory arthritis. Again, this can sometimes only later evolve to become the more typical symmetrical polyarthritis by including many joints on both sides of the body.
- The caveat is that by recognizing the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis rheumatologists and their patients can address the disease early, thereby affording optimal outcomes for those affected.
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Twitching When You Sleep
More than 80 percent of people with RLS also experience periodic limb movement of sleep , a condition that causes your legs to twitch and kick while you sleep, sometimes throughout the night.
RLS symptoms may occur once or twice a week, or more often in severe cases. They may disappear for a period of time, then come back. But in general, they worsen over time.
Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse
Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.
There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.
If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.
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What Can I Do To Make Living With Arthritis Easier
Changing your routine can make living with arthritis easier. Adjust your activities to lessen joint pain. It may help to work with an occupational therapist . An OT is a healthcare provider who specializes in managing physical challenges like arthritis.
An OT may recommend:
- Adaptive equipment, such as grips for opening jars.
- Techniques for doing hobbies, sports or other activities safely.
- Tips for reducing joint pain during arthritic flare-ups.