Managing Your Arthritis

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and chances are if you have been diagnosed with one of these, you know the pain of living with stiff joints and pained muscles. Learning to manage your arthritis is important if you want to live a normal, pain-free existence. Fortunately, there are more options available to arthritis sufferers than ever before.

Managing your arthritis can sometimes seem like an unreachable goal. Symptoms can change from day to day, and you may feel you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. You’ll probably find that there is some kind of therapy that suits your particular case. What kinds of therapies are recommended for arthritis patients? Exercise physiology is highly recommended for treatment of almost all kinds of arthritis. The benefits of physical activity are almost innumerable. Exercise plays an important role in helping reduce the symptoms of arthritis, including pain and stiffness. It is almost important to keep the body’s muscles and joints flexible and mobile. Another very important goal of exercise physiology is to help the patient achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Weight control is particularly important for arthritis patients. What type of activities might be part of exercise physiology? Warm water exercises (hydrotherapy), yoga, tai chi, walking, stretching exercises and strength training are all good examples of activities that might comprise your exercise physiology treatment. Other therapies that may also be used in conjunction with exercise physiology include acupuncture and chiropractics. Acupuncture is thought to release pain-causing chemicals from the body. Chiropractics can be useful in helping relieve joint and muscle stiffness and reduce overall tension.

Drug therapies are also an important part of managing your arthritis. There are many different drug therapies available. Your doctors will prescribe medications that target your particular symptoms. One of the most commonly prescribed drug medications is known as paracetamol. This medication targets pain management, and it is most commonly prescribed for osteoarthritis patients. NSAIDs are popular class of drugs that are also commonly used to treat some forms of arthritis. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They are used to reduce inflammation, and are usually prescribed to patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A newer group of NSAID drugs are known as Cox-2 inhibitors. Cox-2 inhibitor drugs have become a very popular choice for many arthritis patients. Some popular brand name Cox-2 drugs include the drugs Vioxx, Celebrex, and Mobic. Some patients are wary about taking Cox-2 drugs because they have been linked to a higher risk for heart disease. One study indicated that patients who take high doses of some Cox-2 drugs might be at a higher risk for developing heart disease. Some countries now require that doctors prescribe low doses of Cox-2 drugs to their patients.

Before taking any medication or pursing any treatment option for managing your arthritis, your doctor or rheumatologist will have to take into consideration any health risks or factors that you may have. Your doctor will also have to monitor your treatment to make sure it is having the desired effects and that no adverse side effects are present.