Arthritis is an often painful condition where one or more joints are inflamed or swollen. One in six people in the United States experience arthritis and, according to research compiled by the CDC, the number is closer to one in four in New Mexico.
With more than 100 conditions that impact the joints, tissues surrounding the joints and other connective tissues, the providers at the Bone and Joint Destination Center at Artesia General Hospital are here to help guide you through diagnosis and treatment. Our dedicated staff will work with you on a personalized care plan to help you reach your goals for mobility and living pain-free.
Here are 10 quick tips to make sure joint pain doesn’t hold you back.*
1. Get a Proper Diagnosis
Always start with a proper diagnosis. There are many causes of joint pain apart from arthritis—including fractures, nerve damage, a torn meniscus in the knee, tendonitis and more.
2. Start an Exercise Program
Although exercise may sometimes cause discomfort, proper exercise will help nourish the cartilage, strengthen the muscle and may prolong the life of your joints. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, check with your provider before starting an exercise program to obtain permission, precautions or guidelines.
3. Modify Your Activities
Proper body mechanics will reduce strain on your joints and lead to a more effective use of your body. These activity modification guidelines may prove helpful if you have arthritis:
- Avoid slouching and practice good posture by standing up straight
- Avoid sitting in low chairs to reduce stress on your knees when sitting and rising
- While traveling, get up and move around every hour or so to avoid stiff joints
- Avoid impact-loading activities, such as running
4. Nutritional Supplements
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are widely used to repair and revitalize cartilage. Some studies also indicate the benefits of vitamin C and D. Discuss your supplement options with your provider.
5. Apply Heat/Cold
Heat and/or cold may be used to decrease pain and increase flexibility. As a rule, cold decreases blood flow to relieve pain and swelling; it is often effective after exercise. Heat increases blood flow to relax muscles and improve motion; it is often effective before exercise.
6. Use Support
Simple everyday tasks are difficult to accomplish when your joints hurt. Ask your provider or physical therapist about self-help devices like orthotics for your feet; braces for your knees or wrists; and support devices like walkers or canes.
7. Investigate Over-the-Counter Medications
Medications are important in the treatment of arthritis. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relievers like Motrin, Advil and Aleve are ideal to relieve joint swelling and inflammation; and Capsaicin cream or gel can be useful as well. Check with your provider before starting any medications.
8. Ask About Prescription Medications
When OTC medications are ineffective, your provider can help recommend one of four general classes of prescription medications to treat arthritis: NSAIDS, non-narcotics, narcotics and rheumatoid drugs.
9. Consider Injections
Cortisone and hyaluronate injections are approved for the treatment of arthritis of the joints or knees, though most providers limit cortisone shots to a few times a year.
10. See a Surgeon
Our providers can help you decide whether surgery is right for you. To learn more about your options for knee, hip and shoulder surgery, request an appointment with our Orthopedics team.
*Underlying Content © 2014 Stryker Performance Solutions. All Rights Reserved.