Arthritis is a term that covers a wide range of disorders and diseases that are associated with joint inflammation. Inflammation is a natural reaction to an injury. Arthritis is characterized by the inflammation of joints and surrounding areas that cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. It can affect other parts of the body such as skin and internal organs. Arthritis has many modes of treatment that have different levels of impact on recovery. The course of treatment is determined on the basis of the type of arthritis. Here is a comprehensive guide on the different treatment options for arthritis.
Types of Arthritis
There are different types of arthritis characterized by different causes, symptoms, and treatments. Each type has a treatment suited for it. The type of arthritis and its severity are factors that significantly influence the course of action chosen to treat the condition. Having in-depth knowledge of the type of arthritis will help better understand why a particular treatment course is chosen for them.
This type is caused due to deterioration of the cushioning cartilage between joints. As a result, normal movement causes the joints to rub and grind together. It is a common side effect of aging; women are more prone to developing osteoarthritis over time.
This is a chronic inflammatory condition in which one’s overactive immune system attacks healthy tissue, including the joints. It can lead to extreme pain and deformation of joints.
A condition in which one experiences sudden and severe stints of pain in knee joints. Gout can be a very discomforting and disorienting disorder. It is mainly caused due to the build-up of uric acid in the blood that leads to severe joint inflammation.
This is a disorder in which the brain processes pain signals more intensely than it normally should. Musculoskeletal discomfort and sensitivity to touch are common symptoms of this type of arthritis.
When pain relief isn’t achieved through medications and occupational therapy, the solution most often turned to is surgery. If the condition reaches a state where no other treatment is working and the pain becomes unbearable, surgery is performed to fix the issue. Surgery reduces stiffness and discomfort and helps restore mobility and function. There are multiple types of surgeries. In Synovectomy, the damaged lining of connective tissues surrounding the joint cavity is removed. Reliable artificial joints can be used to substitute the actual knee and hip joints. Smaller joints in fingers and elbows, in addition to shoulder joints, can be replaced with artificial ones. Another surgery performed is stem cell therapy, which helps with pain relief and restoring function. It is a lengthy, expensive, and complex procedure, but can majorly help those suffering from severe arthritis. Lastly, there is spine and neck surgery used to treat arthritis of the neck and lower spine. The surgery results in limited movement, but immensely helps with pain and prevents further damage to blood vessels and nerves.
Arthritis is a disease that severely impacts one’s ability to move around and carry out daily activities. It is essential for those with arthritis to cope with their condition and do regular physical activity. Occupation therapy helps retain the body to get accustomed to the condition and learn easier ways to do normal day-to-day activities. Occupation therapy stresses the following points:
- Prevent exertion on weaker joints and muscles and rely on stronger ones for movement.
- Avoid positions that can strain your weakened joints
- Use braces for extra support and protection
- Use modified devices that will help make daily activities easier to carry out, such as modified bathtubs, door handles, stairs, etc.
The medication depends on the severity of the condition. Medication largely serves the purpose of reducing inflammation, pain, and swelling as well as improving joint function. Most medications operate by suppressing overactive immune systems. Generally, medication comes in three forms: oral pills, creams, and injections. Medication helps prevent issues from developing in the long run. Acetaminophen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is the most commonly prescribed medication for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. There are also disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that contain tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. These inhibit the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms by blocking a joint-destroying substance in the body. Like most heavy medications, arthritis medicines also come with several side effects such as serious infections and liver damage. Alongside painkillers, doctors also usually prescribe joint injections such as Corticosteroid shots to lessen the pain and stiffness of the affected areas. Infectious arthritis is treated using intravenous antibiotics and draining of excess joint fluids.
Arthritis is a vast number of conditions and thereby has multiple modes of treatment. Your physician will help you choose the best treatment for you on the basis of the type and severity of the condition. Nonetheless, it is essential to do your own research to understand your condition and learn about the different treatments available.