Osteoarthritis According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis is the leading cause of disability in people 15 years of age and older.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis. (The word arthritis literally means “joint inflammation.”) The most common type, osteoarthritis (OA), is a degenerative disease of the cartilage and bone that results in pain and stiffness in the affected joint. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)—a systemic disease characterized by joint inflammation and pain—is far less common than osteoarthritis but potentially much more serious. The exact cause of RA is unknown.
Both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis are chronic conditions; there is no cure for arthritis. The good news is that tremendous strides have been made in the management and treatment of arthritis and related conditions. In addition, there are many things you can do to make living with arthritis easier and less painful.
The type of arthritis and intensity of the condition determine the course of treatment. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are traditional and alternative treatments that can bring arthritis pain relief. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are popular for treating arthritis pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often recommended for osteoarthritis patients with little or mild inflammation, while aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen work best for patients with inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis.
The healing touch of massage may stimulate the flow of blood, bringing heat and relief to stiff joints. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, relaxation, yoga, and even emu oil have proven effective for many arthritis sufferers.
Heat and cold can help alleviate pain too, but since moist heat, such as that from a bath, acts differently than the dry heat of a heating pad or the cold of an ice pack, this type of treatment needs to be discussed with a doctor or physical therapist. Doctors also often recommend patients wear splints or braces to relieve joint pressure and protect them from further injury.