1 AnswerIf you do not have to take medication as often, there are fewer pill bottles to open, fewer pills to take and less stress about missing a dose. Ask your doctor if a long-acting or time-release version is appropriate for you.
1 AnswerDiscuss timing of arthritis medications with your doctor. Medications can have different effects on different people. Timing your medication to your personal body clock can maximize benefits. If your medication affects your energy or mood or wears off at an inopportune time, discuss with your physician the possibility of taking it on a different schedule. If an early morning increase in arthritis symptoms is trying, ask about taking long-acting tablets at bedtime to help you wake up more comfortably.
1 AnswerWhen your doctors and specialists belong to the same medical practice or health maintenance organization (HMO), all your medical records are in one place and managing your medical care is easier. In addition, seeing other specialists in the group (orthopedists, physiatrists, occupational/physical therapists, speech/language pathologists and psychologists/psychiatrists) can reduce the hassles of obtaining referrals and filling out endless paperwork at new doctors’ offices. Be sure to find out if your insurance covers home health services for medical management in the home, physical therapy visits and so on -- you may be surprised by what is covered.
1 AnswerWhether you’ve had arthritis for years or you’ve just been diagnosed, here are ideas for being proactive about managing your pain.
- Wear driving gloves for hand pain. If your hands and fingers are very sensitive and painful, driving gloves (the leather type that covers your hand and leaves the tips of your fingers free) might give you enough support and protection to make daily activities less painful. Try them when carrying packages or groceries, carrying hangers, changing bedding -- anytime your hands give you trouble. Elastic gloves, designed for carpal tunnel or computer use, are another option. Ask your healthcare professional about the type of gloves you should wear and where to find them.
- Put your feet up. To take pressure off your legs and back when seated in a chair, car or bench, do not let your legs dangle. If you do not have a footstool, put a box or books under your feet.
- Stay warm. Cold joints are often stiff and sore joints.
- Use a hand massager or vibrating head and neck pillow to help ease the pain when you are bothered by stiff, tight or achy muscles. Some vibrators or massagers are designed to hold in your hand and massage the spine; others cover the back and/or seat of your chair for an all-over massage experience. Some just vibrate; others have rolling parts inside that massage more vigorously. Some allow the addition of soothing heat with your massage. There’s even a neck pillow designed to strap onto the back of an office chair or car seat. Remove the detachable strap, and you can position the pillow to massage your neck, back, shoulders, legs and feet. Because the pillow vibrates quietly, you won’t disturb others if you use it in bed or during a meeting, and it is great for long car rides. Vibrating massagers are sold in drug and department stores.
1 AnswerRecognize your uniqueness. Everyone is different; you have your own unique symptoms and responses to everything, from activity to medications. Be aware of what works and what doesn’t seem to work for you.
Work with your doctor to find what works for you. If one medication is not helping, ask to try another. If side effects are worse than the original condition, speak up. Be an active participant in your health care.
Other than surgery, common treatments for arthritis pain in the hip include medications, joint injections, and natural treatments. Medications for arthritis typically include anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, and corticosteroids. For hip joint pain, steroid injections are also administered to the joint; these injections work to reduce inflammation in the joint, reducing pain in the local area. Natural treatments for hip arthritis pain include acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, stretching, yoga, and supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.
This answer provided for NATA by the University of Tampa Athletic Training Education Program
1 AnswerAnthony Komaroff, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredThis is a great question for a number of reasons:
- It's a common question for people with musculoskeletal injuries or surgery.
- There's a good deal of uncertainty and misconception about the benefits and risks of exercise in a person with arthritis.
- It demonstrates your desire to get back to exercising. I believe your motivation will help you recover from your surgery faster.
For nearly all types of arthritis, moving is better than not moving. It's true: "if you don't move it, you lose it." We tend to lose motion, strength and balance if we are not active. And a number of studies (though not all) that looked at the effect of running on the risk of arthritis suggest there is no clear increase in arthritis or other joint damage from running.
So, my advice is this: you can start running as soon as your surgeon tells you it's okay. But start slow. Run for brief periods and at low speed. Over weeks and months, you should be able to resume your old running routine.
A few words of caution to keep in mind:
- This is probably not the time to start training for a marathon or begin highly competitive, high impact activities.
- Every person is different. If running causes you significant pain or other problems, talk to your doctor. It may be time to find other non-weight-bearing exercises that do not stress your knees as much. Biking and swimming are good examples.
- Make only small changes in your exercise routine. Start small and make no more than 10% changes each week. For example, increase your speed or how long you run (but not both) by 10% at a time.
Find out more about this book:Harvard Medical School The Joint Pain Relief Workout: Healing exercises for your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles
1 AnswerMaoshing Ni, Gerontology, answeredFor lower back arthritis, I recommend a multi-modality approach: locate a clinic that offers chiropractic, allopathic, and acupuncture modalities. Then integrate the treatments to get the best results. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies can help with the pain, strengthen the lower back, help with mobility, and increase energy. Chiropractic adjustments will help with any physical displacements and structural issues. Remain optimistic; if you stick to the treatments you will see results.
1 AnswerRick Olderman, Physical Therapy, answered
It’s my belief that functional problems create structural problems. But more important, functional problems create pain. These issues often lie in each of the elements of our pain cycle: anatomy, biomechanics, and movement habits. I’ve found that correcting functional problems removes pain, regardless of whether or not the structural issue is resolved.
For example, arthritis is a structural problem that shows up on an X-ray and is easy to point to as the source of your pain. But most people don’t see specialists because they have arthritis. They go because their hip or knee hurts. But pain can be eliminated in people with arthritis if it’s not too advanced. Not by curing their arthritis but by fixing the functional problems that cause their pain. Often these are two separate issues.
Find out more about this book:Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses
2 AnswersMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredIn Japan, they've learned that turmeric, an antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory spice, helps with arthritis by soothing joints -- and it's even been shown to promote weight loss. Just add a half-cup of turmeric to a warm bath.