Treatment options for arthritis include:
I. Physical Exercises:
Exercise is essential to keep the joints healthy and
fully mobile. Exercise to joints strengthens the surrounding muscles
and helps in supporting the joints. Joint movement also helps in transporting
nutrients and waste products to and from the cartilage.
Range of motion exercises: These
are gentle stretching exercises required to be done daily to help
keep the joints fully mobile and prevent stiffness and deformities.
Intense or chronic pain can subside by carrying out these exercises
by patients suffering from arthritis.
Strengthening Exercises: These
help increase the muscle strength and provide support to the joints,
making them more stable and lessening the pain. Strengthening
- Isomeric Exercises: These exercises help
in tightening muscles without the joint movement. These exercises
are useful when the joint motion is impaired.
- Isotonic Exercises: These exercises strengthen
the muscles by movement of joints.
- Endurance Exercises: Endurance exercises optimize
the heart rate to target level, which is computed based on age
and physical condition. Endurance exercises in arthritis patients
benefits them by increasing their physical strength and improving
their symptoms (34).
Analgesics: Analgesics such as paracetamol
and tylenol help relieve pain.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
(NSAIDs): NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Naproxen
are effective in relieving pain, but patients with a history
of kidney or liver disease or gastrointestinal bleeding must
avoid NSAIDs unless recommended by their doctor.
Corticosteroids or Steroids:
These medications suppress the immune system and symptoms of
inflammation. Steroids may be given orally or injected directly
into the affected joint. Side effects of using steroids include
upset stomach, gastrointestinal bleeding, hypertension, thinning
of the bones and cataracts.
Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs
(DMARDs): DMARDs are highly effective and used to treat
rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune causes of arthritis. These
include gold salts, D-penicillamine, sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine,
leflunomide and methotrexate.
Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs) or Biologicals:
These drugs are highly effective in treating serious, systemic life
threatening forms of arthritis (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
and Systemic Vasculitides). These drugs include Infliximab, Etanercept,
Rituximab, Adalimumab and Abatacept.
Surgeries such as total knee joint replacement and joint
replacement are considered only when alternatives such as lifestyle
changes and medications are no longer effective (35), (36) & (37).
Only some kinds of arthritis are preventable but most
are not. Some of the measures to prevent arthritis include:
1. Maintaining ideal body weight.
2. Prevention from major accidents
3. Appropriate physical exercise
4. Avoiding unprotected sex (to prevent gonorrhea related
arthritis and reactive arthritis) (35) & (38).
Article by Kona Vishnu, MS
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