Medication for the Treatment of Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a painful medical condition that can affect multiple parts of the body. Sometimes, the physical symptoms are debilitating and disrupt a person’s life. It can be a challenge to walk, get dressed, and perform other routine tasks. In severe cases, arthritis leads to disabilities.
Fortunately, you can treat arthritis pain and prevent further joint damage. Some medications can reduce inflammation and alleviate the pain associated with arthritis so you can resume your everyday activities. Living a healthy lifestyle is also vital to strengthen joints and manage symptoms.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t one specific condition. The term refers to joint inflammation and pain. Multiple types of arthritis could develop depending on risk factors and other circumstances. The most common include:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States.
Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative arthritis, causes bones to rub together due to a breakdown in cartilage in the joints. This leads to joint inflammation and pain.
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Morning joint stiffness
- Soreness in the joints
- Lack of coordination
- Increasing disability
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The body attacks healthy tissue in the joints. The most common symptoms are joint pain and morning stiffness. Typically, rheumatoid arthritis affects the same joint on both sides of the body.
Over time, joint deformities can develop, and additional symptoms might affect various body parts, such as the eyes, heart, skin, or lungs.
Additional symptoms and complications of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Warmth, numbness, tingling, and burning in the feet and hands
- Trouble sleeping
- Rheumatoid nodules near joints beneath the skin that contain inflamed cells and feel firm to the touch
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and similar forms of arthritis are autoimmune conditions that attack ligaments and tendons attached to the bone. Typically, AS affects the spine and pelvis but could cause problems for other joints throughout the body. The most common symptoms associated with AS are stiffness and pain.
AS is hereditary and more likely to develop in people with the HLA-B27 gene. Additional types of spondyloarthritis diseases caused by the HLA-B27 gene include:
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Acute anterior uveitis
- Reactive arthritis
- Juvenile ankylosing spondylitis
- Enteropathic arthropathy
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is also an autoimmune disease affecting the connective tissue and joints. It can cause damage to other organs, such as:
The most common symptoms are joint pain and swelling. Additional symptoms might include:
- Chest pain
- Hair loss
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Mouth sores
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Facial skin rash
Gout is a type of arthritis resulting from urate crystal accumulation within the joints. If you have high uric acid levels in your blood, you might have an increased risk of developing gout.
Gout mainly affects the joint at the base of the big toe. However, redness, swelling, and pain can occur in other joints, including:
Psoriatic arthritis commonly affects a person’s fingers but can cause painful symptoms in other joints. Psoriasis is a risk factor for developing psoriatic arthritis. Over time, the disease can move to the spine and cause damage.
Infectious and Reactive Arthritis
Reactive arthritis occurs when an infection in one area of the body triggers inflammation and immune system dysfunction in a joint in a different part of the body. Typically, the infection begins in the bladder, gastrointestinal tract, or sexual organs.
Infectious arthritis results from an infection caused by a virus, bacteria, parasite, or fungi. It can develop in one area of the body and travel to the joints, causing swelling and pain.
Additional Conditions Affecting the Joints
Other types of medical conditions can lead to joint pain, such as:
- Scleroderma – Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition that can cause joint pain and organ damage when the skin’s connective tissues become inflamed and harden.
- Fibromyalgia – Fibromyalgia amplifies a person’s perception of pain due to the way the brain processes pain in the joints and muscles.
Diagnosing Arthritis Pain
If you’re experiencing pain in your joints, it’s crucial to visit your doctor immediately. They can perform a physical examination and tests to determine if you have arthritis.
Diagnosing arthritis might require:
- Physical exam – The physician can check for signs of redness, tenderness, warmth, swelling, and loss of motion in your joints.
- Medical history – The doctor will ask about your medical history, including the symptoms you’re experiencing and possible risk factors for arthritis.
- Joint aspiration – Drawing a sample of joint fluid using a needle could detect different types of arthritis.
- Imaging – An imaging test could determine the type of arthritis a patient has. X-rays are common in diagnosing osteoarthritis by checking for bone spurs and loss of cartilage.
- Blood or urine tests – Your physician can test your urine and blood to rule out other conditions and diagnose your type of arthritis.
Taking Medication to Treat Arthritis Pain
Chronic pain is disruptive to a person’s life. If you’re constantly experiencing pain, it’s difficult performing at your job, taking care of your family, and completing basic tasks. Physical pain can also lead to emotional issues. You might become depressed because you’re no longer able to participate in the activities you used to enjoy.
The medication your doctor recommends will depend on the type of arthritis you have. The most common medications to treat arthritis pain include:
- Steroids – Prednisone and other corticosteroid medications can minimize pain and inflammation in the joints and even slow the progression of damage. You can take a corticosteroid as a pill or an injection administered directly into the affected joint.
- NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help alleviate joint inflammation and pain. Over-the-counter drugs, such as Aleve, Advil, and Motrin IB, might offer some relief. NSAIDs are also available in gel or cream form, so you can rub them on the areas causing your pain.
- Counterirritants – A counterirritant is an ointment or cream containing menthol or capsaicin. When you rub these products on the area above the arthritic joint, they could interfere with the signals transmitted from the joint to indicate pain.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – DMARDs can prevent affected joints and tissue from permanent damage. These drugs can also slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
Contact Jersey Premier Pain Today
If you have joint pain and can’t find relief with other treatment methods, contact Jersey Premier Pain immediately. We can evaluate your condition to determine whether you have arthritis and recommend medication to alleviate your symptoms.
You shouldn’t have to live your life in constant pain. Let our team help you treat your pain with the correct medications to improve your quality of life. Call us for an appointment at 201-386-8800 right now.