Arthritis Diagnosis, Treatment, Tips and Pain Management
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?
The long-lasting disease can affect joints in any part of the body but most often involves the hands, wrists, and knees rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system — the body’s defense system against disease — mistakenly attacks the joints and causes the joint lining to swell. In more severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis can affect other areas of the body, such as the skin, eyes, and nerves.
Gout. Symptoms of other types of arthritis may include fatigue, fever, a rash, and signs of joint inflammation, including:
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination. He or she might also order blood tests and X rays to rule out other conditions that could be causing similar symptoms. Your doctor may recommend imaging studies, such as MRI scans, CT scans, or x-rays, to look at the inside of your bones and joints. These images help doctors see what’s going on inside you so they know whether treatment should focus on relieving pain or preventing further problems.
Arthritis Treatment: Occupational Therapy
X-rays are used to diagnose osteoarthritis, often showing a loss of cartilage, bone spurs, and in severe cases, bone rubbing against bone.
Test for rheumatoid arthritis that measures levels of antibodies in the blood is more specific and tends to be higher only in people who have or who are about to get rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment of arthritis could include rest, occupational or physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, drugs, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage. Arthritis Treatment: Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists work closely with doctors and patients to develop an individualized program designed to improve function and quality of life. They teach exercises to strengthen muscles around the joints so they don’t become stiffer over time. They also recommend ways to protect damaged joints by using splints, braces, or casts.
In addition, occupational therapists use tools such as hand weights, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, bath seats, and special beds to make daily activities easier.
Arthritis Treatment: Surgery
Test for rheumatoid arthritis that measures levels of antibodies in the blood is more specific and tends to be higher only in people who have or who are about to get rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment of arthritis could include rest, occupational or physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, drugs, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage. Protecting your joints is an important part of arthritis treatment. Arthritis Treatment: Surgery
Surgery is rarely needed unless there’s no improvement after several months of nonsurgical treatment. If you’re having trouble walking because of knee problems, then arthroscopic surgery might be considered. This procedure involves making tiny incisions through the skin overlying the damaged area. A camera attached to a light source allows doctors to see inside the joint. They remove loose cartilage and repair any tears in ligaments. In addition, they clean away scar tissue and tighten the surrounding tendons.
Non-Medical Management of Arthritis Pain
Levels of antibodies in the blood are more specific and tend to be higher only in people who have or who are about to get rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment of arthritis could include rest, occupational or physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, drugs, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage. Protecting your joints is an important part of arthritis treatment. Non-Medical Management of Arthritis Pain
There are many things you can try on your own to ease symptoms of arthritis without medication. These strategies may not work for everyone, but they’re worth trying if other methods don’t seem effective. They include:
Regular aerobic activity helps strengthen muscle groups around affected joints. It improves circulation and reduces swelling. Exercise should be done slowly and gently until you feel comfortable doing it again. You’ll need to start at low intensity and gradually increase the amount of effort you put into each session.
Stretching before exercising will help prevent soreness from starting during workouts. Do gentle stretches every day. Hold them for 10 seconds, relax for 5 seconds, repeat three times. Stretch both large and small muscles throughout your body. For example, bend forward while holding onto something sturdy like a table edge. Then straighten up by pushing off with your hands against the floor. Repeat this motion five times.
A massage therapist uses long strokes along pressure points to relieve pain and stiffness. He/she also works out knots in tight muscles. Massages usually last 20 minutes to one hour. Ask your doctor first if you think massaging your painful areas would make them worse.
Place a heating pad directly on top of the inflamed spot for 15 to 30 minutes twice daily. Don’t use heat pads near electrical outlets as overheating can cause burns.
Use caution when using heated water bottles since they can burn too.
Put ice packs on swollen parts of your body for ten minutes two to four times per day. Avoid putting ice directly on tender spots such as knees and elbows. Ice packs shouldn’t be used continuously; take breaks between sessions so that the temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees F.
This traditional Chinese medicine technique stimulates acupuncture points to reduce inflammation and improve mobility. Acupuncturists insert thin needles through the skin at these points. The patient lies down comfortably while the acupuncturist manipulates the needle’s handle to stimulate different points. Some patients find relief after just one visit. Others require several treatments over time.
Many medications are available to treat arthritis. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you which ones might benefit you. Over-the-counter medicines often provide temporary relief from some types of arthritis. However, OTCs aren’t always safe because they’re not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. Talk to your doctor about whether any OTC products could affect your condition. If you have severe arthritis, ask your doctor what prescription drug options he/she recommends.
- NSAIDs work well to control joint pain and inflammation. They include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, ketoprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin, piroxicam. These drugs may cause stomach upset and other side effects. Be sure to follow all directions carefully. Take only recommended doses. Never give aspirin to children under 18 years old without checking with their parents first.
- NSAID Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
- COX2 inhibitors are a newer type of medication that reduces swelling and relieves pain. Examples: celecoxib, rofecoxib, etoricoxib.
Conclusion, I hope I was able to help you understand more about Arthritis. Please let me know how it went! Good luck!