The Best Treatments for Seniors with Arthritis
Each kind of arthritis is handled a little differently, but there are some common treatment choices. Rest, exercise, a well-balanced diet, and learning to protect your joints are key to living with any kind of arthritis.
The right shoes and a cane can help with pain in the feet, knees, and hips when walking. You can also find gadgets to help you open jars and bottles or to turn the doorknobs in your house more easily. However, beware of unproven arthritis remedies as they have not been scientifically tested, and some are potentially harmful. Learning how to manage the pain caused by arthritis is key to living a pain-free life.
Acetaminophen can safely ease arthritis pain. Some NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, are sold without a prescription. Other NSAIDs must be prescribed by a doctor. But in 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned people about the possible side effects of some NSAIDs, both those sold with or without a prescription. You should read the warnings on the package or insert that comes with the drug. Talk to your doctor about if and how you should use acetaminophen or NSAIDs for your arthritis pain.
Medicines can help you control OA pain. Rest and exercise will make it easier for you to move your joints. Keeping your weight down is a good idea. If pain from OA in your knee is very bad, your doctor might give you shots in the joint. This can help you to move your knee and get about without pain. Some people have surgery to repair or replace damaged joints.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
With treatment, the pain and swelling from RA will get better, and joint damage might slow down or stop. You may find it easier to move around, and you will just feel better. In addition to pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, your doctor might suggest anti-rheumatic drugs, called DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs). These can slow damage from the disease. Medicines like prednisone, known as corticosteroids, can ease swelling while you wait for DMARDs to take effect. Another type of drug, biologic response modifiers, blocks the damage done by the immune system. They sometimes help people with mild-to-moderate RA when other treatments have not worked.
If you have had an attack of gout, talk to your doctor to learn why you had the attack and how to prevent future attacks. The most common treatment for an acute attack of gout uses NSAIDs or corticosteroids like prednisone. This reduces swelling, so you may start to feel better within a few hours after treatment. The attack usually goes away fully within a few days. If you have had several attacks, your doctor can prescribe medicines to prevent future ones.
Daily Exercise Can Help With Arthritis Symptoms
Along with taking the right medicine and properly resting your joints, exercise is a good way to stay fit, keep muscles strong, and control arthritis symptoms. Daily exercise, such as walking or swimming, helps keep joints moving, decreases pain, and makes muscles around the joints stronger.
- Range-of-motion Exercises: Dancing and yoga both relieve stiffness, keep you flexible, and help you keep moving your joints.
- Strengthening Exercises: Weight training will keep or build muscle strength. Strong muscles support and protect your joints.
- Aerobic and Endurance Exercises: Bicycle riding and running make your heart and arteries healthier, help prevent weight gain, and improve the overall working of your body. Aerobic exercise also may decrease swelling in some joints.
Alternative Arthritis Remedies
Along with exercise and weight control, there are other ways to ease the pain around joints. You might find comfort by applying heat or cold, soaking in a warm bath, or swimming in a heated pool.
Your doctor may suggest surgery when damage to your joints becomes disabling or when other treatments do not help with pain. Surgeons can repair or replace these joints with artificial (man-made) ones. In the most common operations, doctors replace hips and knees.
Recent studies suggest that Chinese acupuncture may ease OA pain for some people. Research now shows that the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin may help lessen your OA pain. However, more information is needed before anyone can be sure.
Many people with arthritis try remedies that have not been scientifically tested or proven helpful. Some remedies, such as snake venom, are harmful. Others, such as copper bracelets, are harmless, but also unproven.
Signs of an Unproven Remedy
- The remedy claims that a treatment, like a lotion or cream, works for all types of arthritis and other diseases.
- Scientific support comes from only one research study.
- The label has no directions for use or warning about side effects.
- Living With Arthritis - Arthritis Foundation
- Arthritis Treatment & Diagnosis - Mayo Clinic
- Understanding Arthritis Treatment - WebMD
- Arthritis Foundation
This article has not been paid for by any advertiser. This content is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or analysis.