Marzia Puccioni Shields: Hello! I'm Marzia Puccioni Shields, Area Vice President with the Arthritis Foundation, and today I'm talking about some of the common arthritis treatment options.
The use of heat or cold over joints or muscles may give people short-term relief from pain and stiffness. But often, the most common first line of defense are over-the-counter Aspirin and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. These drugs have immediate pain-relief and anti-inflammatory effects, and are relatively safe.
Many prescription drugs have also been developed. Biologics are the most recent breakthrough for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Administered by injection these drugs have been found to dramatically improve quality of life.
Corticosteroids, also known as Steroids, suppress the immune system and symptoms of inflammation. They are often injected into painful osteoarthritic joints and are used to treat autoimmune forms of arthritis.
However, you should avoid taking steroids for a long period of time or in high doses due to the potential for side-effects. Regardless of whether your medicine is over-the-counter or prescribed, it is very important to take it exactly as directed by your doctor and report any side-effects.
Speaking of doctors, if you are a family member or struggling to find accessible, affordable healthcare, be sure to visit arthritis.
org and download the Arthritis Foundation's Access to Care for arthritis diet.
Lifestyle changes can also greatly improve symptoms. For example, losing weight and eating a better diet can offer immediate help. Self-help aids have special features that help make everyday tasks easier.
Exercise can lessen pain, increase strength and movement, and reduce fatigue associated with arthritis. A physical therapist can recommend exercises and give advice on how to reduce strain on joints and conserve energy. The Arthritis Foundation also has evidence-based exercise programs that are available across the country. Lastly, make sure you get enough rest and relaxation.
If lifestyle and medicinal treatments are not effective, your doctor may suggest one of two surgical options. Option A, is to inject the arthritic joint with a manmade version of joint fluid which can help relieve the pain. Option B may be surgery to rebuild or replace a joint affected by arthritis. Both of these treatments can greatly improve the quality of life for arthritis patients.
Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, aromatherapy, magnets, and herbal remedies may often result in conjunction with traditional therapies. Always work with your physician in deciding on alternative therapies.
The Arthritis Foundation, the only national not-for-profit organization that supports to more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, offers information and tools on our website at arthritis.
org. You can also learn more by checking out our other videos on arthritis, including tips for preventing and living with arthritis.