Stiffness and pain when the joint is moved after time the pain becomes continuous. The joints which bear the weight are the worst affected - hips, knees, lower back, big toes. (Being overweight can make the condition worse).

Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the arms, legs, wrists, or fingers in the same joints on both sides of the body, especially on awakening.

Fever, joint inflammation, tenderness, and sharp pain, chills, could be associated with an injury, illness.

In children, intermittent fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, anaemia, or blotchy rash on the arms and legs may signal juvenile rheumatoid arthritis‚Äč

What can you do?

The duration and intensity of the actual pain and discomfort depend on the type of arthritis how severe the condition is. The recovery can take a short time for otherwise healthy people or may take years for older patients.

For localised pain, stiffness, and immobility, medication is used to relieve pain and inflammation, rest should be taken to let injured tissues heal themselves, and exercise to rebuild mobility and strength.

To reduce pain and inflammation in mild cases of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, your Pharmacist and/or doctor will probably prescribe a over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Physicians may combine these drugs with regimens of heat, rest and exercise, physical therapy, and physical aids such as canes or walkers. Controlled application of deep heat and ultrasound can also soothe affected joints. Your Pharmacist will be able to assist you with these.

In more advanced cases, your Doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to ease the pain and stiffness of affected joints.

In cases of arthritic complications from injury or infection, specific therapy will depend on the nature and seriousness of the underlying condition. The major concern is for healing the affected area before more serious complications occur. Treatment of infectious arthritis typically involves large intravenous doses of antibiotics as well as drainage of excess fluid from the joints.

Various forms of surgery may be needed to reduce the discomfort of arthritis or to restore mobility. Synovectomy is the removal of damaged connective tissue lining a joint cavity, and allows the body to regenerate new, healthy tissue in its place. This operation is most common in the knee.

In cases of severe arthritic damage to the neck or foot, bones can be surgically removed or fused. Although movement is limited after such surgery, the operations relieve excruciating pain and help prevent further damage to nerves or blood vessels.

If arthritic pain and inflammation become truly unbearable, or arthritic joints simply refuse to function, the answer may lie in surgical replacement. Today, hip and shoulder joints as well as smaller joints in elbows, knees, and fingers can be replaced with reliable artificial joints made of stainless steel and plastic.

Because one of the hardest parts of arthritis is being able to cope with the pain, many doctors recommend training in pain management, including cognitive therapy.

Your alternative choice

Many people use natural therapies in a bid to ease arthritic pain as traditional treatments have not helped substantially. Arthritis sufferers should be extremely cautious, however, about practices that claim to 'cure' the disease. Furthermore, what appears to work for one person under a given set of circumstances may not work at all for someone else.

Body Work - In combination with other treatments, massage around affected joints or compassionate touching by a doctor or other practitioner may have a comforting effect on those who suffer from arthritis.

Herbal Therapies - try guaiacum, dandelion root, comfrey, black cohosh, burdock, fennel seed, meadowsweet or corn silk in teas, tablets or other herbal mixtures. A great juice for this condition is celery juice made fresh.

Homoeopathy - For chronic osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, remedies will be prescribed after consultation.

Yoga - may help relax the mind and body.


(c) Medicines Information Pty Ltd

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