There are millions of arthritis sufferers all around the globe, yet doctors and scientists have not yet been able to find a cure for the disease. The good news is that arthritis is treatable, and many treatments exist that have helped people find relief. Treatments can range from natural remedies passed down through the generations, heat or cold therapy, over the counter medications, prescription medications, supplements, exercise and even surgery. Consulting a doctor at the first sign of joint discomfort is the best way to identify the cause and begin a treatment that will be appropriate for your individual condition.
Eat Right and Stay Active
Hands down, the best way to attempt to prevent getting arthritis in the first place, or to help a case you have already developed, is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Keeping your weight in an ideal range is critically important to prevent your joints from unnecessary stress, wear and tear.
The best way to manage weight is to eat a healthy diet. Lean meats and plenty of fruits and vegetables will keep your body functioning well and in the best position to heal itself. Also, do not be afraid of exercise if you are dealing with arthritis. Contrary to popular belief, a reasonable amount of exercise is actually good for aching joints. Physical activity increases joint mobility and range of motion and has been shown to decrease pain and inflammation. It also strengthens the muscles so they can better support the joints.
Stretching can be very beneficial, too. This can be anything from simple stretches done at home to joining a yoga class. Those who need stretching or exercises for specific joints can see a physical therapist for help.
Some of the most popular supplements on the market for joint pain are glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine can actually help to repair damage to the joint cartilage, easing pain and helping with range of motion. Often found in conjunction with glucosamine is chondroitin. Adding this helps boost the positive effects of glucosamine. These supplements are easy to find at any pharmacy, or even grocery stores, are relatively inexpensive and have a low risk of side effects.
Others that have received favorable feedback are anti inflammatory supplements. These can help ease overall inflammation in the body, which can help with arthritis symptoms by diminishing pain and swelling in joints. Some common anti inflammatory supplements are omega-3s and turmeric.
Stronger than anti inflammatory supplements are anti inflammatory medications. Some of these, such as NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), are available over the counter, but others can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Those with the autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, can take medications that calm their immune systems to help prevent it from attacking their joints. Other forms of relief can be steroid injections into affected joint areas.
Normally reserved for the most advanced and severe cases, this is the last resort. Surgeries can repair parts of the joints that are damaged, or can entail total joint replacement. The best option to avoid surgery is to see a doctor as soon as you begin to experience joint pain. He or she can then recommend treatments that will prevent the disease from progressing to this point.