Joint pain is one of the major problems faced by the elderly population affecting their lifestyle as it limits them from their daily routine activities. Although it mostly affects elderly population but adults are also not immune from it, according to CDC data around 23% of all adults which accounts for more than 54 million people in the US and out of these 54 million, 24 million adults are limited in their activities which can have a big impact on a country’s economy.
What is arthritis?
To understand what the treatment of arthritis is and how can you prevent it, first we need to know what arthritis is. Arthritis is the medical term used for inflammation in joints; it is a progressive degeneration of joints. Joint will be swollen, it will have severe pain, enough to limit your activities, there will be redness all over it and it will be hot on touch.
Treatment of Arthritis
Arthritis treatment is divided into pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment.
Acetaminophen in a dosage of up to 1000mg is the initial pharmacologic treatment.
Low-dose NSAIDs are the next step, followed by full-dose treatment. NSAIDs are really helpful in reducing inflammation in the joint area thus giving the patient relief but these should be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.
Intra-articular glucocorticoid injections are often beneficial but probably should not be given more than every 3-6 months.
Tramadol, a µ-opioid agonist, may be useful as an alternative analgesic agent. Narcotics may be useful for short term pain relief and in patients whom in whom other therapeutic modalities are contraindicated, but in general they should be avoided for long-term use.
Topical NSAIDs, lidocaine or capsaicin may provide symptomatic relief with minimal toxicity.
Gabapentin has also been used to help with neural pain modification in a patient with severe symptoms of arthritis who are unresponsive to the previously mentioned modalities.
Duloxetine has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain.
The use of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate is contradictory. some suggest it may reduce symptoms as wells as the rate of cartilage deterioration
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Limitation of activities: Activities that involve excessive use of the joint should be identified and avoided. poor body mechanics should be corrected.
Exercise program: An exercise program to prevent or correct muscle atrophy can also provide pain relief.
Artificial support in the form of a cane, crutches, or a walker can be helpful.
Weight reduction may be of benefit, even for non-weight bearing joints.
Physiotherapy: consultation with an occupational and physical therapist may be helpful to increase the joint movement and to prevent joint stiffness.
Surgery can be considered when patients suffer from disabling pain or joint deformity. Joint replacement surgery usually relieves pain and increases function in selected patients.
The food we eat can increase the inflammation level in our body so therefore if we are able to follow an anti-inflammatory diet with more antitoxins we can control some of the symptoms. Foods that are high in antioxidants like grapes, greens, and blueberries can help reduce inflammation whereas foods that are processed, high in fat and sugar can keep your joints inflamed. A regular healthy diet can help with day to day pain and swelling.