Achy and swollen joints. Morning stiffness. The signs of arthritis setting in can be easily mistaken for injuries or overworked joints or muscles.

Arthritis is the painful inflammation and stiffness of a joint.

“Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability within America. It is seen mostly in women and occurs frequently as people age,” said JRMC Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Timothy Volk.

The treatment options for arthritis range from home remedies to spa therapies and medical appointments.

  1. Massage. Going to the spa is a great way to unwind and relax. Massage therapy can lead to a decrease in pain for anyone with arthritis.
  2. Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has many uses and two are pain relief and anxiety reduction. It is effective as it affects the amygdala or the emotional center of the brain. Exposure to aromas should be brief as people stop responding to scents after a few minutes.
  3. Heat and cold treatments. Warm showers or baths and heating pads help to ease joint and muscle stiffness. Cold treatments like ice packs and ice baths cool joints and tend to inflammation.
  4. Physical therapy. Choosing to see a physical therapist or finding proper exercises to use may help improve flexibility, strength, coordination and balance. Exercise and stretching improve function and relieves pain.
  5. Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt relieves pain and stiffness in joints and muscles. Simply pour into a warm tub and soak the pain away.
  6. Swimming or water aerobics. Water is easy on the joints as the buoyancy supports the body’s weight, which reduces impact and stress on joints and lessens pain. Water workouts can improve balance and range of motion and fitness; water requires increased effort, due to its resistance, which helps burn more calories.
  7. Medications, vitamins and minerals. Medications may help someone suffering from arthritis. Medications range from analgesics, biologics, corticosteroids, DMARDs, and NSAIDs to vitamins and minerals. It is best practice to speak with a primary care provider to discuss options and find the right fit.
  8. Injections. Steroid and hyaluronic are two of the most common injection types for arthritis patients. Injections are intended to lessen pain symptoms, so that patients may participate in physical therapy exercise and daily stretching and strengthening for their arthritic joints. Injection benefits may last from a few days to more than six month
  9. Joint surgery. Is the pain affecting daily life, sleep, moods and relationships? Are there more bad days than good? It might be time to discuss the possibility of surgery with a provider. If all other treatment options have been tired and nothing seems to help, joint surgery may be the solution.

“Pain, stiffness and swelling are common symptoms of arthritic joints,” said JRMC Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Dean. “Most symptoms progress or worsen over time and may result in chronic pain and permanent joint damage.”

Still having aches and pains? Contact our orthopedics team and schedule direct: (701) 952-4878.

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