Treatments Your Doctor May Consider To Help Your Arthritis

Arthritis can severely impact your life. It causes you to live with frequent joint pain, and since the condition usually gets worse over time, you may eventually lose some range of motion in your joints. This can make it difficult to do tasks like opening jars, buttoning your shirt, or even walking. There are different treatments for arthritis. They work to reduce inflammation and control pain. Here are some treatments that your doctor may suggest you try.

Lifestyle Changes

Your doctor might advise you to lose weight if you're carrying extra pounds. The excess weight puts more pressure on your joints, and can make joint deterioration progress faster and more painful. In addition, your doctor may suggest you begin a regular exercise program to help you maintain full range of motion in your joints and extremities.

You may need to learn some of these moves from a physical therapist. You can do other exercises on your own as long as they are gentle on your joints, such as working out in a swimming pool rather than jogging. Your doctor might also want you to change your diet. This not only helps you lose weight, but if you switch to an anti-inflammatory diet, it may also help reduce the inflammation and pain in your joints.

Medications for Inflammation and Pain

Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat your arthritis. These might be anti-inflammatory drugs, or you might be given painkillers. If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications first. Some medications for arthritis are taken orally. Others, such as corticosteroids, can be injected into a joint to help with swelling and pain. Some topical medications may help, too. This might involve rubbing a cream that contains capsaicin over your painful joints.

Arthritis Surgery

If you have severe arthritis and the usual treatments don't help with your pain, then your doctor might recommend surgery. With surgery, the doctor removes part or all of the affected joint and replaces it with artificial material. With the damaged joint gone, you should regain full range of motion and be free from pain. Common joints that are replaced due to arthritis include the hip and knee. Smaller joints can often be treated surgically by fusing bones together without the need for an artificial joint. Sometimes, joint repair is all that's needed. In that case, your doctor may be able to perform the surgery through small incisions above the joint, and do the repairs without having to open your hip or knee. This option makes recovery much quicker.

Finding the right treatment for your arthritis can take trial and error. You may even need multiple treatments, especially if your condition progresses over time. The first step is to have your arthritis diagnosed properly, since rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may have similar symptoms, but your doctor may treat them differently. To learn more, talk to companies like the Sarasota Arthritis Center.