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Arthritis & Joint Pain treatment options

The Facts Put Simply

.

What exactly is ailing you?

It is difficult to define your joint pain treatment options effectively if you don’t know exactly what is ailing you.

Prior to exploring your joint pain treatment options, you need to ensure that you fully understand what the nature and cause of your joint pain is.

BE INFORMED

This point may appear to be very basic, but it is often overlooked as a result of self diagnosis, misdiagnosis or unqualified opinion.

It is absolutely essential that you obtain an accurate diagnosis BEFORE you begin wasting time, money and hope on a joint pain treatment that is not designed to help your specific joint pain situation.

Subject matter Quick Links for this page…

The Key Issues You Need to Understand are:

1) Is your joint pain the result of arthritis or one of the many other joint pain causes?
2) What is your best joint pain treatment option?


The first question to ask…

Is your joint pain the result of arthritis or one of the many other joint pain causes?

The odds are that the cause of your joint pain will fall into one of the following two categories:

1) Short Term joint injury:
Injury to a joint usually results from sudden trauma such as sprains and strains. Joint pain treatment for these injuries can be effectively administered with little or no long term effects.

2)Arthritis related joint pain:
Arthritis ('arth' means joint, 'itis' means inflammation) joint pain however is a much more complex disease that can be the result of more than 100 different conditions such as the relatively mild forms of tendonitis ("tennis elbow", “runners knee" ) and bursitis to osteoarthritis to crippling systemic forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. .

The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to visit a qualified doctor who can make an assessment. The doctor will usually take your medical history and ask questions such as:
• How long have you been experiencing pain?
• How intense is the pain?
• How often does it occur?
• What causes it to get worse?
• What causes it to get better?
• Review the medications you are using
• Conduct a physical examination to determine causes of pain and how this pain is affecting your ability to function
• Take blood and/or urine samples and request necessary laboratory work
• Ask you to get x rays taken or undergo other imaging procedures such as a CAT scan (computerized axial tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to see how much joint damage has been done

Once the doctor has completed these preliminaries and assessed the results of any tests or procedures, he or she will discuss the findings with you and from there you can explore your joint pain treatment options in an informed manner.

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The next question to ask is...

What is your best joint pain treatment option?

If the diagnosis of your joint pain is that your pain results from a short term joint injury, then you should simply follow your medical professionals’ directions and advice.

If however the diagnosis of your joint pain is arthritis related, you need to understand what type of arthritis you have and then you need to explore all of the various joint pain treatment options available to you. Only through an analysis of all of your treatment options can you arrive at a decision as to what's best for you.

The recognized joint pain treatment options fall into the following categories:

1) Pharmaceutical drugs:

Historically, Doctors have been very quick to address joint pain with what has become a "standard" regimen of over-the-counter and/or prescription drugs such as NSAIDS like Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, and Acetaminophen, or prescribe COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx and Celebrex.

Will these give you pain relief?... Yes.

In most cases you will obtain some pain relief using them. However, studies and recent product recalls have shown that they can also cause a wide range of undesirable side effects from ulcers to heart disease to liver damage. Also keep in mind that the use of drugs such as NSAIDs and COX-2 Inhibitors does not halt or reverse the damage of arthritis but simply masks the pain. Lastly be aware that current research is showing that these drugs may even accelerate the progress of the disease.

In the most serious cases, a doctor may recommend steroid treatments. You should be aware that steroids such as cortisone and opiates are not only dangerous, they can also be life threatening. Steroid treatments are an unnatural and unhealthy option that should not be considered as a viable alternative, and once again, keep in mind that at best all they will do is to relieve some of the pain. Steroids do nothing to halt and/or reverse the disease.

More details on Pharmaceutical drugs available here.

2) Natural Remedies:

Natural supplements are without a doubt a viable and effective joint pain treatment option. The most studied and reported on natural supplements for combating arthritis related joint pain are glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate in combination.

The latest research studies on these natural supplements - The Gait Study & The GUIDE Trial - have both shown that they are very effective natural alternatives to drugs that:

• have no side effects,
• are completely safe,
• ease the pain, and,
• help to repair damaged joints.

More details on Natural Treatments available here.





3) Other Joint Pain Treatment options:

Heat and cold
The decision to use either heat or cold for arthritis pain depends on the type of arthritis and should be discussed with your doctor or physical therapist. Moist heat, such as a warm bath or shower, or dry heat, such as a heating pad, placed on the painful area of the joint for about 15 minutes may relieve the pain. An ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables) wrapped in a towel and placed on the sore area for about 15 minutes may help to reduce swelling and stop the pain. If you have poor circulation, do not use cold packs.

Joint protection
Using a splint or a brace to allow joints to rest and protect them from injury can be helpful. Your physician or physical therapist can make recommendations.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A small TENS device that directs mild electric pulses to nerve endings that lie beneath the skin in the painful area may relieve some arthritis pain. TENS seems to work by blocking pain messages to the brain and by modifying pain perception.

Massage
In this pain-relief approach, a massage therapist will lightly stroke and/or knead the painful muscle. This may increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed area. However, arthritis-stressed joints are very sensitive, so the therapist must be familiar with the problems of the disease.

Weight reduction
Excess pounds put extra stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees or hips. Studies have shown that overweight women who lost an average of 11 pounds substantially reduced the development of osteoarthritis in their knees. In addition, if osteoarthritis has already affected one knee, weight reduction will reduce the chance of it occurring in the other knee.

Exercise
Swimming, walking, low-impact aerobic exercise, and range-of-motion exercises may reduce joint pain and stiffness. In addition, stretching exercises are helpful. A physical therapist can help plan an exercise program that will give you the most benefit.

Surgery
In select patients with arthritis, surgery may be necessary. The surgeon may perform an operation to remove the synovium (synovectomy), realign the joint (osteotomy), or in advanced cases replace the damaged joint with an artificial one (arthroplasty).

Eat a healthy diet

Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night

Join a support group

Stay informed. Keep on top of new research and approaches to combating arthritis and managing arthritis pain.

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