Arthritis is one of the most common but not well understood age-related degenerative diseases. It is referred to as inflammation. There are at least 100 types of arthritis. It is one of the leading causes of disability in the country. Every year, almost 50 million adults across the country suffer from some form of arthritis.
Even after having numerous types and a widespread effect, there is no cure for this type of disease as yet. Medical research has led to great improvements in this area as the conditions can be controlled effectively.
Treatments are tailored as per the needs of the individuals and the type of arthritis they suffer from. Severity and impact also varies from person to person.
Based on these factors, following are some treatment options to control arthritis.
If a person is suffering from inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, it is better to begin with drug therapies. Sooner the therapy initiates, better are the chances of reducing the risk of long-term damage of joints and bones.
There are two main types of medications in this case.
- Drugs that deal with the symptoms of arthritis such as pain and stiffness in the jointsPainkillers or analgesics such as paracetamol help in reducing the pain and can be used for all types of arthritis. It is advisable to take the medication before an activity that is likely to aggravate the pain. The medications are more effective if taken regularly during the flare-up of the pain. There are many over-the-counter pills available that can also help one ease the pain.
There are a number of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that help in reducing the stiffness and swelling and relieving the pain. NSAIDs are also helpful in other types arthritis where inflammation is not the problem, e.g., osteoarthritis. These types of medications can be used in small doses when the symptoms flare up. Combining these with analgesics can also help you relieve from the pain. However, it is better if you consume minute doses and for a short span of time because NSAIDs can cause indigestion and an upset stomach. Most doctors prescribe these medications with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs help protect the stomach, and it is imperative that you consult a doctor as some of these medications increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
- Treatments and medications to suppress the inflammatory disease
Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) help in suppressing arthritis by treating the underlying cause. These types of drugs are used to treat inflammatory types of arthritis and other forms of disease that affects connective tissues. While the patient is on DMARDs, it is usual to have regular blood tests, blood pressure checks, and urine tests.
There is a newer class of drugs that come under biological therapy. They have a unique way of working as they block the messages between white blood cells that cause inflammation. They are used for treating inflammatory types of arthritis.
Physical therapies for arthritis
Once the patient comes overcomes with some of the symptoms of arthritis, the doctors might recommend a course of physical therapy. These therapies include the following types.
It involves exercising in warm-water pools. The idea behind hydrotherapy is that it the water supports the body weight and puts less pressure on the on the muscle joints.
This form of physical exercise helps in improving general fitness and overall muscle strength through a combination of tailor-made exercises based on the condition of the individual. It is also combined with some pain-relieving treatments like heat or ice packs and a massage.
- Occupational therapy
This type of therapy involves managing everyday tasks based on practical advice from therapist. They help in relieving pain by using specialized aids and equipment that protects the joints from further damage due to inflammation and fatigue.
Surgery for arthritis
If the damage to the joint is severe to the extent that it is causing difficulties in managing everyday tasks, then surgery might be necessary. This treatment is also advisable when medications and therapies are not helping the patient relieve the pain.
Advancement in medical science has now made joint replacements easy through some sophisticated methods. On similar lines, there are a number of pain-relieving reconstructive operations that have proven to be helpful. Arthroscopy is a type of surgery that is performed using needles and implants. This surgery does not fully opens up the joint and is sometimes referred to as keyhole surgery.
Consult your healthcare professional before opting for any if the above-mentioned treatment as they will help in balancing the risks and benefits of each treatment.