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Arthritis

Diagnosis And Treatment

Treatments for arthritis work to reduce pain and swelling, keep joints moving safely, and avoid further damage to joints. Treatments include:
  • Acetaminophen (sold over the counter as Tylenol) can be used to control pain in patients and should be the first drug used to treat patients with with osteoarthritis (OA). Common over-the-counter nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen can be used to help inflammation and pain of arthritis. Other prescription medications, including celecoxib (Celebrex), and gold sodium thiomalate (Myochrisine) may be prescribed to manage the symptoms of arthritis. People taking medicine for any form of arthritis should limit the amount of alcohol they drink.
  • Injectable fluids known as hyalens may replace or supplement lost synovial fluid. These treatments are very popular for those suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee. A popular treatment, the "Synvisc" injection, is detailed in a report on this site.
  • Injecting liquid cortisone directly into the joint may temporarily relieve pain and swelling. However repeated and frequent injections into the same joint can damage the joint.
  • Exercise, such as a daily walk or swim, helps keep joints moving, reduces pain, and strengthens muscles around the joints. Protecting joints with canes, crutches, walkers, or splints may help relieve the stress and strain on bothersome arthritic joints. Rest is also important for the joints affected by arthritis.
  • Many people find that soaking in a warm bath, swimming in a heated pool, or applying heat or cold to the area around the joint helps reduce pain.
  • When damage to the joints becomes disabling or when other treatments fail to reduce pain, your doctor may suggest surgery. Surgeons can repair or replace damaged joints with artificial ones. The most common operations are knee and hip replacements.

Last updated: Mar-26-07

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