What arthritis treatment options are available?
- Check with your doctor to confirm what type of arthritis you have. An X-ray will detect the presence of osteoarthritis.
- Take aspirin or NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) after a meal to relieve pain and inflammation. If you've had gastrointestinal bleeding or are over 65, consult with your doctor first.
- Rest to give injured tissues time to heal.
- Start a moderate exercise program to alleviate the pain and inhibit further deterioration by strengthening the surrounding bones, muscles and ligaments. Also, if you are overweight, exercising will help drop the extra pounds that are, no doubt, putting more stress on your joints.
- Heat or cold therapies may help alleviate the pain and inflammation.
- Corticosteroid injections are sometimes called for.
- Acupressure can sometimes relieve the pain as can massage or chiropractic treatment.
- Surgery is also an option for those suffering from severe arthritis. Damaged connective tissue in the joint is removed to allow new, healthy tissue to grow in its place. Sometimes the entire joint is replaced with an artificial one.
- Check with your doctor to confirm what type of arthritis you have. A blood test will discover the presence (or lack) of antibodies called rheumatoid factors. If they are present, you have rheumatoid arthritis.
- Note that there is no real cure for rheumatoid arthritis, though symptoms can be alleviated in most individuals if treated aggressively.
- Treatment for kids is about the same as for adults, but emphasizing physical therapy and exercise. Most kids can and do recover fully from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
- See treatments (above) for osteoarthritis.
- Check with your doctor to confirm what type of arthritis you have. Testing a fluid sample from the affected joint can determine whether you have infectious arthritis.
- Large intravenous doses of antibiotics and draining excess fluid from the joints is the common practice.
- Treating the primary illness is key as well.
- See treatments for osteoarthritis.
Herbal Recommendations - Please see Herb Safety
- In his book Herbs of Choice, herb expert Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., recommends willow bark, an herb that can be traced back to ancient Egypt where extracts were used to treat inflammation. The active compound of willow bark is salicin, a relative of acetylsalycylic acid (aspirin). The Commission E -- an expert committee on herbal remedies established by Germany's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices -- approves white willow bark as an analgesic to be used for rheumatic ailments.
- Commission E has also approved the use the following herbs: stinging nettle herb and leaf as supportive therapy for rheumatic ailments; hay flower for topical use as an adjunct to heat therapy for degenerative diseases, such as the various forms of arthritis; white mustard seed for topical use as a poultice for diseases affecting the joints and soft tissues; arnica montana used externally for joint pain.
- Do not use white mustard seed if you have a kidney disorder.
See also: Massage and Arthritis