Arthritis and Joint Pain
Throughout the United States, over forty million people suffer from at least one of the over one hundred various types of arthritis. No matter the specific type of arthritis one might be afflicted with, they all share the common symptom of painful joint inflammation and stiffness. And while there is no cure for arthritis in many of its forms, there are always options for treatments and strategies, to lessen the severity of the symptoms, allowing a person suffering from the condition to return to a normal life and routine.
The treatment for arthritis will depend on a number of factors, such as the exact type of arthritis, the severity, your age, overall health, and more. Because there’s so many different types of arthritis, it is crucial to work with your doctor to nail down a diagnosis of the exact variety you may have, so that a treatment plan can be tailored to you and your lifestyle and needs. But there are common treatments that work equally well on most all types of arthritis. Rest, exercise, eating a well balanced and healthy diet, and learning to properly use and protect your joints are all key to living with arthritis.
Some people find relief from arthritis by applying heat, cold, or both heat and cold sequentially. Refrain from using extreme temperatures, and apply them for only fifteen minutes at a time. For heat, using heating pads, warm baths or showers, or hot water bottles. For morning stiffness, using a heating pad before getting up, or taking a warm shower first thing in the morning. Cold can be applied to help numb the pain of swollen joints as well as reduce inflammation. Ice packs wrapped in a towel can apply cold, but a bag of frozen peas or corn from the supermarket can be handy, as it can wrap more closely around joints and other irregular body shapes.
While your doctor may prescribe medications for you, there are a number of over the counter and readily available products that can help with pain and inflammation. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are readily and cheaply available at any grocery or drug store. Be sure to read any and all warnings and instructions on the package, and be sure to follow all directives. If you have any concerns, be sure to consult your doctor.
Temporary relief from arthritis pain can also be given by topical analgesic creams. Also available over the counter without prescriptions, they use a variety of ingredients such as capsaicin, derived from hot peppers, to numb the area and provide pain relief. Unfortunately, the relief will only be temporary and the creams will need regular reapplication.
As far as supplements and vitamins, many people find relief from taking glucosamine and chondroitin. Both of these compounds are found naturally in the body, serving to strengthen the cartilage around the joints. And while calcium and vitamin D won’t help directly, inflammatory arthritis conditions can accelerate bone loss. Calcium is necessary to replenish bone mass, and vitamin D helps the body more readily absorb calcium.