Top Arthritis Treatment Options for Active Adults
Arthritis is an incredibly common condition. In fact, according to the CDC, 24% of all adults in the United States suffer from arthritis. This equates to more than 58.5 million people. While arthritis cannot be fully cured at present, there are a number of different things you can do to ease the pain you may be experiencing. So, with that being said, let’s take a look at the different arthritis treatment options in further detail.
What is arthritis?
Before we tell you more about the different arthritis treatments that are available, it is important to understand what this condition is. Arthritis is a common condition that causes inflammation and pain of a joint. Many people think arthritis is a condition that only impacts people as they get older, but this is not the case. People of all ages can suffer from arthritis, including children.
There are a number of different types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This tends to develop in people who are in their mid-40s or older. It is also more common in people who have a family history of the condition, as well as females. Osteoarthritis tends to impact the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This means that it is more challenging to move than it usually would be, resulting in stiffness and pain.
Some other types of arthritis and related conditions include enteropathic arthritis (EnA), psoriatic arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, cervical spondylosis, ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, secondary arthritis, and reactive arthritis.
What are the different arthritis treatments?
While there is no cure for arthritis at the moment, there are a number of different treatments that are available and can help you to cope with this condition. Let’s take a look at them in further detail.
One of the most popular types of arthritis treatment is physical therapy. Physical therapy can be helpful in a number of different types of arthritis. Exercises can help to enhance your range of motion as well as strengthening the muscles that surround the joints. In some instances, braces or splints could be warranted.
The second arthritis treatment that we are going to take a look at is medication. There are different types of medications that may be prescribed to you depending on the type of arthritis you have and the level of pain you are experiencing. Some of the different medications that you may be prescribed include the following:
- Biologic response modifiers - The first type of medication we are going to look at is biologic response modifiers, which are often used with DMARDs, which we will explain next. This is a drug that has been genetically engineered for the purpose of targeting numerous protein molecules that are involved in an immune response.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) - Next, we have DMARDs, which are often used as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment. DMARDs will stop or slow your immune system so that they do not attack your joints anymore. Examples include hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate.
- Counterirritants - Some different types of ointments and creams will contain capsaicin or menthol. By rubbing such products on your skin, it can help to stop the pain signal transmission from your joints.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - NSAIDs are also very common when it comes to arthritis treatment. Examples include naproxen and ibuprofen. This type of medication is beneficial in terms of reducing both inflammation and pain.
- OTC (Over-the-Counter) Painkillers - Talking of pain, painkillers are, of course, very effective when it comes to lowering any pain you may be experiencing. However, it is vital to stress that painkillers do not help with inflammation. Opioids may be prescribed should you have more severe pain, and they will act on your central nervous system to reduce pain.
- Corticosteroids - Finally, we have corticosteroids, which is a class of drug that will suppress the immune system and lower inflammation. Examples include the likes of cortisone and prednisone.
Surgery for Osteoarthritis
This will not be the first port of call for most doctors. Instead, they will try different options such as therapy and pain management medication. However, if these conservative measures are not helpful, surgery may be suggested to you.
There are a number of different types of surgery that may be recommended, including:
- Joint fusion - This procedure tends to be used regularly when it comes to smaller joints, for example, those in the fingers, ankle, and wrist. During this surgery, the ends of the two bones in the joint will be removed, and then those ends are going to be locked together until the healing process begins and they become one rigid unit.
- Joint repair - In some circumstances, the surface of the joint will be realigned or smoothed to enhance function while also lowering pain. These sorts of procedures can be carried out arthroscopically, via little incisions over the joint.
- Total Joint replacement - Another procedure that your surgeon may recommend is total joint replacement. This is a type of surgery that will involve the damaged joint being removed and then an artificial joint will be added to replace it. A joint replacement will typically be recommended for knees and hips.
Final words on arthritis treatment options
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about the different treatment options that are available to you for arthritis. From medications to physical therapy for arthritis, there are many different ways that you can reduce joint pain so that you can improve your quality of life. If you are searching for a top rheumatologist in Northern Virginia, Maryland, or D.C. area to treat your arthritis, please contact us.