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Reducing and Alleviating Arthritis Symptoms

Posted April 7, 2013
 
Arthritis is a little-understood deterioration of the joints that causes pain and loss of function. According to this 2010 report from the Arthritis Foundation, it is the number-one cause of disability in the United States, affecting one in every five adults. It is not primarily an affliction of the elderly, as two-thirds of those with arthritis are under the age of 65.
 
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are treatments to alleviate symptoms and increase mobility. The first course of treatment is usually medication in the form of:
 
Topical lotions to interfere with the pain in the joint. Creams that contain menthol or capsaicin (the irritant found in hot peppers) can reduce the sensation of joint pain.
 
Analgesics which help relieve the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. Stronger medications that require a prescription are oxycodone, propoxyphene, and codeine. While these help assuage pain, they do not relieve swelling, and prescription painkillers are addictive.
 
Corticosteroids reduce the inflammation which causes so much of the pain. While these drugs are effective, there are many side effects of long-term use, including glaucoma, high-blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. To avoid these side effects, doctors often inject the corticosteroid directly into the joints.
 
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) suppress the body’s immune system which attacks the joints as it would an infection. These drugs are effective, but the range of side effects require constant medical supervision.
 
Many arthritis patients find great relief in lifestyle therapies, such as:
 
Losing weight, which greatly reduces the stress on weight-bearing joints.
 
Exercising, especially by means of water aerobics, which provide a full workout against the weight of the water with minimal risk of injury.
 
Heat pads or ice packs. Generally, cold packs work best in reducing inflammation, but many people find that gentle warmth reduces tension in the joints.
 
Assistive devices. Walkers, canes or lift chairs can provide continued mobility even to those who suffer advanced arthritis.
 
Let us know what you have done to help alleviate your arthritis symptoms on our Google+ and Facebook pages!
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Some of the great lift chair manufacturers featured on Lift Chairs 101.
  • Pride Mobility
  • Golden Technologies
  • Med-Lift
  • Winco
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