If you have an arthritic joint, there are several different types of treatments for the disease. Rheumatologists have the knowledge and experience to recommend the best course of treatment. They focus on improving the quality of life for patients with arthritis while avoiding surgery and opioids. These specialists evaluate the patient’s condition and develop a customized treatment plan based on their diagnosis. They use various methods, including physical therapy and medications, to improve joint health and mobility.
A doctor may also perform a physical exam to determine the type of arthritis. During the examination, the physician may look for redness or swelling of the joints, as well as check range of motion. An x-ray may also be done to determine whether your symptoms are due to another disorder. A urine test may be used to check for protein and different types of blood cells. An X-ray can show bone damage and cartilage loss. This test can also track the progression of the disease.
Physical therapy may be effective in reducing joint pain and swelling. Although not effective for everyone, physical therapy is often recommended for three to six months to see positive results. If you don’t notice an improvement within the first three months, you may need to try something else. Some people have found relief from arthritis using cold and hot therapy. While this may not be a cure, it can certainly help you reduce the pain and inflammation. A healthcare provider may also recommend hot and cold therapy, which help reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain.
DMARDs – disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs – are effective in reducing pain and limiting the progression of the disease. TNF inhibitors – a class of medicines that prevent the activation of the immune system – may help limit joint damage but increase the risks of serious infections and liver damage. If these treatments are not effective, the doctor may recommend a lifestyle change or a combination of both.
NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs containing salicylates or ibuprofen – are commonly used in the treatment of rheumatic arthritis. These drugs block the activity of cyclooxygenase, a protein involved in the inflammatory process. This means that NSAIDs and Celebrex can affect both COX enzymes. NSAIDs can help you treat your rheumatic joint pain, but they can worsen the condition.
Drugs – Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain. Some of these medications have side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage. Physical therapy can also help strengthen muscles around the joints and improve range of motion. The following are some common types of arthritis medications:
Pain medications – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be prescribed for pain relief but do little to reduce inflammation. These medications are typically prescribed in higher doses than is normal. But, these medications are not effective in reducing long-term joint damage due to RA. If you have a severe case of inflammatory arthritis, your doctor may prescribe biologics or immunosuppressants.