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  • Arthritis Treatment Options

  • Care for arthritis often involves more than one type of treatment. Treatment may vary over time and may be different depending on the kind of arthritis.
    Consult your doctor to discuss the best treatment options for you.

    There are three basic categories of treatments, and your plan may involve one, two, or all three:

    Medication

    Many drugs, both prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, are used to treat arthritis. Common medications are aspirin-free pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, disease modifiers, and sleep medications.

    Exercise

    Regular exercise is important to keep the body moving and flexible. It may lessen pain, increase movement, reduce fatigue, and helps you look and feel better.

    • Use of heat or cold over joints may provide short- term relief from pain and stiffness

    • Pacing helps protect your joints by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest so that your joints don't tire from the stress of repeated tasks

    • Joint and muscle exercises to improve strength and flexibility

    • Joints can be protected by learning to use them in ways that avoid excess stress. One way of doing this is to avoid using sore and weak joints. Unless larger joints are sore, for example, it is best to use them when carrying heavy items. The second method is walking with assistive devices like a cane. Lastly, weight control helps ease pain by reducing stress on your joints.

    Surgery

    Most people will not need surgery, but in many cases surgery may be effective in minimizing or eliminating pain when other treatment methods have failed.

    • Osteotomy (restructuring of the bones to shift stresses from diseased to more healthy tissue)

    • Partial knee or hip replacements (replaces only diseased portion of the joint)

    • Total joint replacement (used when severe osteoarthritis is present)

    Many advances have been made recently allowing surgical  procedures that are much less invasive. Such minimally invasive procedures are  revolutionizing the way patients experience and recover from surgery.