Stop Fearing Medications That May Help
Arthritis patients sometimes avoid painkillers because they’re afraid they’ll become addicted to them, or they choose not to use biologic drugs because they fear potential serious side effects. Remember that your healthcare provider would never prescribe something that might hurt you or that you could become dependent on as long as you take it as directed.
Make sure you understand when and how much of your medication you should take, and how you should take it and your arthritis meds should do nothing more than make it easier for you to live comfortably.
Using Acetaminophen To Relieve Joint Pain
Acetaminophen is also the active ingredient in many products labeled “aspirin-free pain reliever” or “non-aspirin pain reliever.” To be sure what youâre getting in a medicine, read the ingredients.
How Arthritis Creams Work
Arthritis creams help relieve joint pain when applied to the skin. They can provide short-term but effective relief. These creams tend to work best on joints that are close to the surface of the skin, such as the joints in the hands or knees.
The main pain relieving ingredients in arthritis creams are:
- cinnamon oil
These substances are called counterirritants. They warm or cool the skin and distract the brain from pain.
Capsaicin is a natural, odor-free element found in hot chili peppers. It reduces pain by blocking the skins pain receptors.
The arthritis creams most commonly found in drugstores include:
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Foods For Fighting Inflammation Arthritis And Joint Pain
For those with arthritis, one in four will experience severe joint pain. That joint pain and stiffness often affects quality of life by limiting your ability to do the things you love.
When you suffer from arthritis, your body is in what is known as an inflammatory state. In this state, the old adage you are what you eat is quite true: some foods may trigger more inflammation while others can help reduce it.
If youre suffering from aching joints due to inflammation, changes to your diet can help.
Salmon Tuna Sardines And Mackerel
These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have found can decrease inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating a 3 to 4 ounce serving of these fish two or more times a week is recommended for protecting the heart and reducing inflammation.
While fresh fish can get pricey quickly, one tip to make it more affordable is by looking in the freezer section or buying canned sardines, salmon or tuna. Be sure to choose lower sodium options when purchasing canned items if you need to keep your sodium in check.
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Alternate Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis
More and more people are moving toward homeopathic treatments instead of relying on overpriced prescription medications and costly surgeries many of which individuals, especially those without insurance, cannot afford. Not only that, many people are becoming wary of putting so many manufactured chemicals in their bodies on a regular basis. It seems like everything we ingest nowadays is somehow engineered instead of natural. Perhaps returning to nature is a better alternative than the usual go-to treatments. Well discuss the use and effectiveness of seven natural remedies for RA. Well also share what our research has found as far as success rates go.
1. CinnamonProponents of cinnamon in alleviating symptoms of RA contribute its healing powers to the anti-inflammatory qualities of cinnamon bark. In addition, cinnamon is noted to help with aches and pains, especially when they are worse with cold or cold weather.
The Problem? Cinnamon in large doses can be detrimental to your health. In addition, cinnamon has been found to have potential harmful effects to pregnant women and may negatively react with your bodys natural blood clotting as well as interacts with any blood thinning medications you are taking.
2. Willow BarkWillow bark, as the name quite literally says, is the bark off of willow trees. This bark has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties which assist with pain relief. In fact, it has very similar qualities to everyday aspirin.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight can drive up your inflammation. Where body fat is distributed can contribute, as well. For instance, a large waist circumference is typically associated with excess inflammation.
Researchers recognize that there is a connection between inflammation and obesity, although more needs to be learned. At the very least, talk to your healthcare provider to determine the ideal body mass index for your frame, and work toward that goal.
You don’t need to lose a lot of weight to improve inflammation. Reducing your weight by between 5% and 10% significantly lowers your level of inflammation, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.
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Biologic Therapy For Arthritis
Approved to treat certain forms of inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, biologic response modifiers work by altering the function of the immune system that attacks the joints.
These drugs must be administered by intravenous infusion or by an injection, and they are more expensive than other arthritis drugs.
Is Deep Heat An Anti
A pain treatment gel designed to give effective, targeted, brief pain relief and inflammation reduction in soft tissue rheumatism , tendonitis or bursitis, and sports-related injuries such as strains and sprains. Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication . It reduces pain and swelling due to its effect on prostaglandins and other chemicals that cause inflammation.
Deep heat therapy uses heat to reduce pain and inflammation of muscle, joint, or tendon problems. It can be done using various methods including traditional hot packs and warm water bottles, heating pads, ultrasound, and magnetic devices. Magnetic devices use small magnets placed on the skin to deliver heat from electromagnetic coils. Traditional hot packs and warm water bottles make use of the concept of compression-decompression: liquid packets are wrapped in cloth and heated or cooled under pressure when they’re removed from the pack, the liquids within will have retained their temperature for a time.
Studies have shown that deep heat therapy is more effective than placebo pills in reducing pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis of the knee. It has also been shown to be more effective than oral NSAIDs in the management of pain and inflammation associated with sports injuries such as tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendinitis.
The American College of Rheumatology recommends exercise for people with arthritis and also tells them about the benefits of NSAIDs.
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Injections Are Another Low
If other strategies dont provide enough relief, injection therapy is an option with low risk.
A corticosteroid injection involves delivering this anti-inflammatory drug directly to the knee. The benefits are typically short lived. But it varies from person to person. I tell my patients the pain relief can last anywhere from a week to a year, says Dr. Day. One cautionary note with corticosteroids is the potential to increase blood sugar, which is a concern for people with uncontrolled diabetes.
For a possibly longer lasting effect, an injection of hyaluronic acid can be tried. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that healthy joints have a lot of and arthritic knees dont, says Dr. Day. It takes longer to start working than a corticosteroid injection, but the effect often lasts six months to a year.
Currently, research is being done on the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma , which is not yet covered by insurance. PRP involves drawing some blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, and injecting part of it into the knee.
If youre not able to get your symptoms under control with a combination of these measures, she says, it could be time to talk to your doctor about surgery.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.
Can Arthritis Cause Numbness
Numbness is often a symptom of nerve involvement. For instance, numbness in the arm may be related to nerve irritation in the neck. In such a situation, turning or bending the head to the involved side may increase the symptoms. For example, a pinched nerve in the right side of the neck may cause numbness in the arm and hand when a person attempts to look back over the right shoulder. If nerve irritation becomes more severe, the arm and hand may become weak. A physical examination X-rays and an MRI of the neck and electrodiagnostic tests may be useful in establishing the diagnosis.
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What’s New In Arthritis Research
Progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis research today that the media often report new findings before the medical journal with the information reaches your doctor’s office. As a result, you need to know how to evaluate reports on new arthritis research.
Arthritis researchers are looking at four broad areas of research. These include causes, treatments, education and prevention.
Researchers are learning more about certain conditions. For example in osteoarthritis, researchers are looking for signs of early destruction of cartilage and ways to rebuild it. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types that involve inflammation, researchers are trying to understand the steps that lead to inflammation and how it can be slowed or stopped. An initial study suggests that fibromyalgia affects more older people than originally thought and often may be overlooked in this group. Your doctor can tell you about other new research findings. If you would like to take part in arthritis research, ask your doctor for a referral to a study in your area.
Many people help make arthritis research possible. The federal government through its National Institutes of Health is the largest supporter of arthritis research. Drug companies do the most research on new medications.
What Are The Symptoms
RA sufferers are familiar with the severity of the pain associated with stiff and sore joints. Some describe it as having sprained all the joints in their bodies at once. Now imagine that with simultaneous fatigue, appetite loss, and feeling feverish, and you can easily envision how they are apt to feel downright lousy. Then to add insult to injury, some suffer through those episodes it for years and years. The most common signs and symptoms are:
* Swollen joints* Pain and stiffness in the joints, especially after periods of inactivity * Extreme fatigue
Even though RA is not life threatening, you will feel pretty miserable. And thats no way to live your life. Youll be searching for relief and relief that works.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system turns on itself. It attacks synovium the lining of the joints. Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in other joints, it can also affect the spine, specifically the cervical region . Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is not caused by wear and tear, so its considered an inflammatory arthritis. It may cause back pain even when these joints are not in use. It tends to affect women more than men.
Stop Avoiding Mobility Aids
A cane, walker, or wheelchair may be necessary for some people with arthritis to stay independent and get around on their own. Understandably it can be tough to think about needing some sort of mobility aid, but if you do need one and don’t use it you risk missing out on things you would enjoy.
A cane or wheelchair doesn’t define who you are, and no one will judge you or think less of you for using one. In fact, you’ll probably be admired for getting out there and having fun in spite of needing a little help.
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How To Get Moving Every Day
In addition to physical therapy, its critical to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Joints are built to move, says Dr. Day. The evidence shows that people who are least active have more arthritis pain than people who do some form of exercise. Choose lower-impact activities, such as bicycling, swimming or exercising in a pool.
What Are The Precautions Of Arthritis Medicine
Even the best medicines for arthritis pain can have side effects. As such, it is important to exercise precaution.
Some of the side effects you need to watch out for are as follows:
For acetaminophens dizziness, nausea, constipation, vomiting, and lightheadedness for prescription-strength acetaminophens. Non-prescription acetaminophens have no side effects when taken as directed. Taking in more than the prescribed dosage, however, can lead to liver damage. It will also help if you consult with your doctor before taking acetaminophen to make sure that it will not react with whatever other medication you are seeking.
For corticosteroids bone loss, cataracts, increase blood sugar levels and elevated levels of blood fats.
For NSAIDS edema, stomach upset, possible increased blood clots risk, stomach ulcers, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, heartburn.
For DMARDS increased susceptibility to infections, and stomach upset. Some brands have certain side effects, too.
For biologics when biologics are injected, one can develop an adverse or adverse reaction to the injection such as swelling and redness nausea, rapid/weak pulse, vomiting, and difficulty in breathing.
All these side effects can be prevented and managed if you consult with your doctor first before choosing any product.
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Foods To Avoid If You Have Arthritis
Weve covered the positive, now the difficult part the foods that maybe you should limit if inflammation is a concern to you.
Yes, whilst some foods can help keep inflammation in check, others have been found to trigger it.
Certain food groups are thought to have inflammatory properties.
For example, refined carbohydrates , chips and other fried foods, fatty red meat, and high sugar food and drink.
Limiting these foods in your diet can have wide wellness benefits, including for some, improvements in joint health and the symptoms of arthritis.
By limiting certain foods in your diet, some people experience improvements in their arthritis symptoms, but unfortunately theres no definitive advice as experience will vary from person-to person, says Emily.
Theres also a lot of misinformation out there regarding diets for arthritis, which people should be wary of.
“For example, cutting out food groups for extended periods of time without knowing if they affect you personally as some advice suggests could mean your body runs short of important nutrients.
Instead, Emily suggests keeping a food diary as the best way to identify if a food intolerance is exacerbating inflammation and, as a result, increasing joint pain caused by arthritis.
Under the advice and guidance of your doctor or dietitian, you could leave out a certain food from your diet for a period of time probably a month minimum and note any changes in your arthritis symptoms, she suggests.
Gout And Calcium Crystal Diseases
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause painful swelling in joints. It typically affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body.
Joints affected by gout can become red and hot. The skin may also look shiny and can peel.
Its caused by having too much urate, otherwise known as uric acid, in the body. We all have a certain amount of urate in our body.
However, being overweight or eating and drinking too much of certain types of food and alcoholic drinks can cause some people to have more urate in their bodies. The genes you inherit can make you more likely to develop gout.
If it reaches a high level, urate can form into crystals that remain in and around the joint. They can be there for a while without causing any problems and even without the person realising they are there.
A knock to a part of the body or having a fever can lead to the crystals falling into the soft part of the joint. This will cause pain and swelling.
There are drugs that can reduce the amount of urate in the body and prevent gout attacks. Examples are allopurinol and . If youre having a gout attack, youll also need short-term pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as paracetamol can be good drugs to try first.
Men can get gout from their mid-20s, and in women its more common after the menopause. Taking water tablets can increase the risk of gout.
There are also conditions that cause calcium crystals to form in and around joints.
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Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
What’s your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if you’ve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
Talk To Your Doctor About A Knee Brace
Often a knee brace can help. Theres evidence to show that even a simple compression sleeve can decrease pain, says Dr. Day. These are a good way to start because you can get one at the drugstore.
You can also talk to your doctor about a more customized unloader brace. These take pressure off a portion of the joint. The brace thats right for you will depend on the severity and location of arthritis, whether primarily in the inner or outer side of the joint or in the kneecap.
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Supplements For Those With Mild Pain
The evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin is mixed, but they are safe. So it might be worth trying. However, people with a shellfish allergy may not be able to tolerate them. Any effect wont kick in right away. Dr. Day recommends trying it for six to eight weeks. If you notice improvement, great if not, then stop it, she says.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some evidence for its usefulness for painful knee arthritis. You can add turmeric to your food or take it as a supplement. It can thin blood, so people who take a blood thinning medication should not use turmeric.