Arthritis is a disease involving the inflammation of joints. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults 65 and older have been diagnosed with arthritis. While there is currently no cure for arthritis, there is a host of medications, treatments and procedures that alleviate the pain caused by this condition.
Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is a condition caused by the natural and gradual wear and tear on the joints. Obesity may also be a factor, as it puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips.
Treatments for arthritis and osteoarthritis tend to be non-invasive or minimally invasive. They are therefore conservative in nature. Initial treatment for most kinds of arthritis will often include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, known as NSAIDs. Common NSAIDs are naproxen and ibuprofen, and these medications work to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Other forms of treatment may include:
• Physical therapy to help improve joint flexibility
• Accommodations like special grips or bathtub handles
• Joint injections of corticosteroids
• Medical branch blocks for immediate reduction of pain, irritation and inflammation in spinal joints
• Full joint replacement (only recommended in severe cases)