Those who suffer from arthritis pain know that it is, well, a pain not only physically but in your day-to-day life. It can take a toll on your mentality just as much as it can your body. There are traditional and cutting-edge treatments to consider, and finding the right solution with the help of an industry-leading provider can be the key to improving your quality of life.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a painful inflammation and/or stiffness of the joints. This leads to chronic pain and typically gets worse as you get older.
What causes arthritis?
When the amount of cartilage in your joints reduces or wears down, this can cause some forms of arthritis. Some infections or injuries to your joints can also lead to a reduction in a normal amount of cartilage, which will cause arthritis.
This cartilage is a firm and flexible connective tissue in your joints. Its job is to protect your joints from grinding together by absorbing shock and pressures from everyday life. When this breaks down, your joints no longer have protection, and this leads to aches and pains.
What are the symptoms of arthritis pain?
Arthritis comes in many forms and can affect people differently.
These are the common symptoms of arthritis:
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Reduction in range of motion
- Redness of the skin around your joints
- Loss of appetite (due to inflammation)
- Joint deformity (in the case of rheumatoid arthritis)
Depending on your type of arthritis, you may experience different symptoms as certain types of arthritis are more severe than others.
How can you treat arthritis pain?
Although there is no single cure for arthritis, there are many different options for treating it and its symptoms. For some traditional methods such as medication and physical therapy may prove the best course of action. But for others, cutting-edge regenerative therapies may be far more successful.
Here are the top treatment options for arthritis:
If you’re suffering from pain and joint stiffness, your primary care provider may recommend or prescribe medication to treat the symptoms.
- Analgesics – Hydrocodone (Vicodin), or medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) are simple medications that aid in pain reduction, but they don’t treat the inflammation that causes the pain and discomfort.
- Menthol or capsaicin – These are creams that can block the transmission of pain signals from your joints, reducing the pain you experience with arthritis.
- Immunosuppressants – Medications such as these (prednisone or cortisone) work to reduce the inflammation that causes pain.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – ibuprofen and salicylates help control pain and inflammation, though salicylates do thin the blood and should be monitored so as to not combine them with other blood thinners.
If your arthritis is severe enough, surgery may be the best option for you. In this instance, your entire joint will be replaced with an artificial one. These types of surgeries are most common for hips and knees.
Joint fusion is another option for arthritis in your fingers or wrists. This type of procedure is where your doctor will lock the ends of your bones together until they heal together as one.
3. Physical therapy
Many arthritis treatment plans involve physical therapy as a way to strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints.
PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, injections are an up-and-coming means of treating arthritis. This is when your own blood is taken, modified to hone in on PRP, and injected into to area of pain and discomfort.
This works by actually healing the affected area itself due to the growth factors in PRP. As your joints heal, your pain and discomfort will subside.
5. Stem Cells
Stem cell regeneration is the latest breakthrough in healing technology to help restore your body.
The way stem cell regeneration works is by using your body’s own stem cells and injecting them into the injured area in order to heal. This allows the stem cells to actively work to heal the injured area, reducing pain caused by the injury itself.
The complete repair time for stem cells can take up to 3 months, though pain relief is felt after only a few weeks.
Arthritis is a condition which affects 350 million people worldwide and left untreated, can cause serious (and sometimes permanent) damage to your joints. If you are suffering, or are interested in learning more about an alternative treatment plan, see the experts at the Comprehensive Spine and Pain Center of New York.