If you're wondering how to treat arthritis pain, you've probably been kept awake at night due or prevented from doing daily activities or beloved hobbies.
Those compromises on quality of life are what typically spurs someone to finally seek treatment for arthritis. Common signs of arthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Swelling or tenderness
- Decreased range of motion
- Pain during activities
- Pain while in bed
Although arthritis can't be fixed, you don't have to just live with the discomfort because there are many courses of effective arthritis pain management.
The most common types of arthritis
The type of treatment you receive may depend on the type of arthritis from which you suffer. Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, though there are more than 100 different types of diseases and conditions that fall under the umbrella term.
Arthritis can affect the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. It can also affect the hips, knees, ankles and feet. You can even get arthritis of the jaw.
Osteoarthritis can be found in any joint. Sports medicine experts often see patients with arthritis of the knees and shoulder joints.
The best methods of arthritis pain management and treatment
You may be wondering about arthritis pain medication to manage your symptoms. First line treatments may include over-the-counter analgesics like Tylenol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like Advil. Creams or ointments may also help some irritation.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are a common next step for osteoarthritis. As the pain increases, corticosteroid injections can be administered to help with the pain. These injections help calm the inflammation in the joint.
Most people can continue treatment of corticosteroid injections if they keep helping for at least three to four months in the knees and about six months in the shoulders.
As the injections diminish in effectiveness, gel injections such as Synvisc 1 and Orthovisc will likely be considered. The gel injections can be administered every six months as long as they remain effective.
Holistic methods of arthritis pain management
Most orthopedic doctors will include physical therapy for arthritis as part of a treatment plan. It can help with:
- Loss of mobility
- Decreased range of motion
- Other symptoms
An orthopedic physical therapist can help develop a program of exercise and stretches to help improve movement and range of motion in the arthritic joints. Learning proper movements and posture can help with arthritis pain management, along with manipulation or hot and cold therapy.
If you find you're no longer feeling prolonged relief from these non-invasive remedies, your orthopedic doctor may recommend considering joint replacement.
When surgery is needed for arthritis pain management
Joint replacement surgery is not the first line of defense for mild to moderate arthritis. And there's a reason an orthopedic expert won't likely jump to surgery as a solution for arthritis pain management before other treatments have been tried.
The longer surgery is put off, the less likely a person will have to undergo subsequent surgeries to replace the replaced joint in their lifetime. Knee replacements and hip replacements can be done on an outpatient basis and many can now last as long as thirty years.
Joint replacement surgery will likely be followed by a lot of physical therapy as well. People who are compliant with their treatment and therapy plans will have the best outcomes for arthritis pain management over time.