Each kind of arthritis is treated differently, but there are some common treatment choices. Proper rest, exercise, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and learning the right way to use and protect your joints are key to living with any kind of arthritis. The correct 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.
There are a variety of medicines that can help with the pain and swelling of arthritis. Acetaminophen can be used to ease arthritis pain. Some NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are sold over-the-counter, while others require a prescription.
For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, additional medications are often prescribed. Providers closely monitor patients who take these medications. While many of these medications can be taken by mouth, some are administered by injection or infusion.
Along with exercise and weight control, there are other ways to ease the pain around your joints. You may find comfort by applying heat or ice, soaking in a warm bath, or swimming in a heated pool.
In some cases, your provider may suggest surgery when the damage to your joints becomes disabling or when other treatments do not help with pain. Surgeons can repair or replace these joints with artificial ones. Hips and knees are the most commonly replaced joints.
It’s important that you do not simply assume that joint pain and arthritis are to be expected as you age. You and your provider can work together to safely reduce the pain and stiffness that might be troubling you and to prevent more serious damage to your joints.