Tips for Treating Artritis

By: Tara Smith

The conservative medical community tends to treat arthritis with painkillers and exercise. This is because these drug therapies have been around for at least fifty years and surgery has a fairly high success rate, while many other remedies like dietary supplements are relative newcomers to the scene.

Painkillers are not the solution to the problem. They mask the symptoms by providing temporary relief and often worsen the disease. Besides, they have side effects; most drugs prescribed for arthritis pain can upset the stomach and cause nausea and diarrhea. Sometimes, these drugs can compromise the wall of the gut and then the antigens leak into the system, enter the bloodstream and end up in a joint.

Once they reach the joint, they will trigger an attack by the white blood cells that are the body’s defense system. The end result is that this causes more pain and inflammation as the white blood cells release prostaglandins and leukotrienes in an attempt to dispose of the enemy. They also release digestive enzymes that begin to attack and digest the actual cartilage, bone, ligament and muscle that are supposed to be saved. This can then become a chronic problem, which is what happens in rheumatoid arthritis especially.

Even simple drugs like aspirin become harmful if taken over a long period; they rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals. Loss of these bodybuilding nutrients, especially the B group vitamins, can cause more pain and inflammation due to the breakdown of cartilage, bone and other important tissues.

Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like indomethicin (Indocid) and ibuprofen and others, give pain relief and reduce joint swelling, but cause stomach problems with long-term use, while the Cox –2 inhibitors like celecoxib (Celebrex) while safer for the stomach, may cause cardiovascular problems.

Steroids are a slightly more feasible option, but those too can have their drawbacks. Although effective as painkillers, arthritis treatments that use steroids like penicillamine can lead to the reduction of copper in your body. If you suffer from arthritis of the gout, then the usual method of treatment is colchicines, yet this can lower the amount of Vitamin B12 your body produces.

Disease-modifying and immunosuppressive drugs are sometimes given, but they have serious side effects too, so must be closely monitored. Some of these include: - gold, by injection or orally, methotrexate (Matrex), and anti-malarial drugs to name just a few.

Doctors recommend surgery when drugs fail to work, or the side effects are too serious. Knee and hip replacements have become very common since the success rate is about 95%, and most patients become pain-free. Replaced joint can last for up to fifteen years and when they start to give trouble can be replaced. However, there are a few cases of unsuccessful operations and the artificial joint has to be removed. Their condition becomes worse than before.

Since there are various types of surgery available, from the simplest bone shard removal to releasing trapped nerves, arthritis can be a treatable malaise. However, due to the after-effects that can happen, be sure to speak to your physician first.

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