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Arthritis Treatment – General Plan

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Arthritis Treatment – General Plan:

arthritis treatmentThe most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Arthritis treatment varies according to the site and stage of the disease. Proper Arthritis treatment can relieve symptoms and prevent serious joint problems. It can slow, but not reverse, the disease process.

In osteoarthritis, the purpose of a treatment plan is to manage pain (and inflammation), reduce stress on joints,maintain flexibility and muscle strength, and prevent further harm to joints. Arthritis Treatment can help a person be as active and involved in life as possible. Arthritis Treatment plan usually involves a combination of exercise, medication, heat and cold treatments, joint protection and lifestyle changes.

 

Exercise:

Exercise should be done regularly to keep the joints flexible and the muscles strong. Joints need strong muscles for stability. Range of motion or stretching exercises can benefit most arthritic older people. Consult a health care professional in developing an exercise plan.

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Medication:

Drugs for arthritis treatment should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor. Several drugs are frequently tried  before one is found that works for an individual. Some people cannot tolerate certain medications. Age-related changes and other factors influence how a drug acts in an individual.

  • Aspirin is the most effective and widely used drug in the arthritis treatment. It relieves pain and inflammation. Some people who have arthritis must take large doses of aspirin several times daily. Although aspirin is one of the safest drugs available, it can cause stomach problems.To reduce stomach irritation, aspirin should be taken with milk or meals.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness. Advil and ibuprofen are commonly used. Some people have fewer side effects using NSAIDs.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has been found to be as beneficial as NSAIDs in relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Antidepressants (certain types) can also help alleviate pain.


Heat and cold treatments:

A health care professional may recommend the use of heat or cold treatments to help manage pain. Examples of heat treatments are warm bath or shower, hot packs, heat lamps, electric mitts and paraffin wax. Cold treatments usually involve cold compresses or ice cubes wrapped in towels and are used to numb a painful joint.

Never apply extreme temperatures without a doctor’s order. Be especially careful when applying heat. Consult with a health care professional before trying a heat treatment. Elderly people with poor circulation and reduced sensitivity are at risk for burns.

 

Joint protection:

Joint protection involves doing activities the right way and paying attention to pain. Misuse of a joint that is already inflamed or injured can further damage joints, ligaments and bones. Assistive devices such as canes, walkers and crutches protect weight-bearing joints by reducing stress. They should be fitted by a health care professional. Improperly fitted, they can cause more harm than good.

Good posture and body mechanics protect joint and ligaments from strain. Weight loss, particularly in an obese person, can reduce stress on joints.

 

Popular remedies:

Arthritis treatment flourish like fads in food and fashion. Because arthritic symptoms flare up and subside, it may appear as though a remedy has caused the improvement.

 

Effect on the individual:

The pain from arthritis flare-ups interferes with daily life and enjoyable activities. Depression is common because people with arthritis feel discomfort and pain. Lowered self-confidence and worry about the future add to depression. Some feel tired and frustrated because activities they used to do easily have become demanding and painful. Many elderly people hesitate to make plans because the symptoms of arthritis come and go without warning.

Arthritis pain disrupts sleep. Fatigue and depression can decrease appetite. While therapeutic use of rest can help reduce stress on joints and prevent further joint injury, too much rest may lead to stiffer joints, weaker muscles and, possibly, greater inactivity.

In addition to arthritis symptoms, you may be dealing with other physical illnesses and age-related changes. Age-related changes in bones and muscles complicate the lives of people with arthritis. Aging cartilage, ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid cause joints to lose motion and steadiness. Pieces of bone and cartilage in the synovial fluid can cause pain and swelling. Your risk of falling increases due to declining muscle strength in the legs and trunk and unstable joints.

Arthritis Treatment-Guidelines for care:

People who do not have arthritis sometimes fail to realize the painful effects of the disease. They believe it causes only minor aches and pains. Remember, symptoms may be worse on some days and better on other days.

Because osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among elderly people, the following guidelines apply. However, in general, the suggestions apply to other arthritis sufferers as well.

General Care:

Elderly residents who have osteoarthritis can be helped to maintain their highest level of function, prevent secondary problems and promote comfort in the following ways:

  • Conserve the resident’s energy. Plan a regular, balanced program of activity, rest and medication (if prescribed). Plan activities with rest periods of 15 to 30 minutes several times per day. Gradually change the pace of activities. Schedule enjoyable events during the resident’s best time of day. For osteoarthritis sufferers, morning usually is best.
  • Encourage correct posture and body mechanics. The resident should keep the back straight when lying down, sitting, standing, walking or lifting. Self-care techniques include using a straight-backed chair; pulling in the stomach and straightening the back when walking; sleeping on a firm mattress or using a bed board.
  • Remind the resident to avoid overusing or abusing joints. For example, encourage the resident to keep the hand open whenever possible; use the palm of the hand to rest the chin; avoid tight grasps on objects such as eating utensils.
  • Promote use of appropriate assistive devices. For example, crutches help take the weight (stress) off affected joints. Such devices should be ‘’fitted” to the resident by a health care professional. Padded handles on eating utensils and toothbrushes aid self-care.
  • Be aware of safety hazards. For example, uneven surfaces such as curbs, steps, gravel surfaces and sandy beaches often cause persons who have arthritis to fall. Prevent accidents by taking appropriate measures, such as providing personal assistance, installing a rail or ramp or regrading a surface.
  • Monitor medications. Persons should not stop taking arthritis medication when they feel better. The prescribed dose is necessary to manage the disease, even when pain and swelling are not present.
    • Watch for drug side effects. For example, black or tar-like stools may indicate that a drug is causing intestinal bleeding. Ringing in the ears can be a sign of drug toxicity.


Diet: 

Many arthritis treatment rely on diet. However, hundreds of careful research studies have shown that no “arthritis diet” prevents or cures arthritis. A well-balanced diet is most important. If you are overweight, consult the person’s doctor about a weight reduction diet. Less weight means less stress on arthritic joints.

 

Exercise and mobility:

Regular exercise is important in effectively managing osteoarthritis. There are numerous gentle exercises. A health professional such as a physical therapist or doctor can develop an exercise plan that meets the resident’s specific needs. The exercise plan may include putting the joints through range of motion and isometric exercises. Daily exercise helps prevent further decline in function and strength.

 

Sleep and rest:

You can improve stamina by taking frequent short rest periods during the day and resting before fatigue occurs. If sleeping is a problem, then you may try following:

  • Take a warm bath just before bedtime — Warm baths can sooth aching joints and aid relaxation.
  • Exercise in bed — This can reduce stiffness that causes you to wake during the night.

The Arthritis treatment mentioned above may be applied, however it is always recommended to consult your Doctor before taking any action.

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