Alternate Names : Joint Inflammation
What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment varies quite a bit, depending on the type of arthritis and its
severity. The age, health, and activity level of the person also are factors to consider. Education about the disease can help bring about improved daily
self-management and coping skills.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, are
often used to treat early symptoms of arthritis. COX-2 specific inhibitors, such
as rofecoxib or celecoxib, can also help to relieve symptoms. For some forms of arthritis, corticosteroids such as prednisone can work very
well. Corticosteroids can be taken by mouth or injected into the joint.
Depression and sleep
disorders may be treated with low doses of antidepressant
medicines, such as amitriptyline.
A wide variety of medicines are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis:
antibiotics, such as doxycycline and minocycline
corticosteroids, such as prednisone
COX-2 specific inhibitor NSAIDs
disease-modifying medicines, such as D-penicillamine, which slow down the progression of the disease
immunosuppressant medicines, such as methotrexate, which change the body's immune response
infliximab and etanercept, which block the effects of an
If there is a bacterial infection of the joint, antibiotics are critical. The joint may be drained by repeated aspiration or by open surgical
A change in diet may help some forms of arthritis. People who have arthritis might experience loss of
anemia, which is a low red blood cell count. Frequent small
feedings or protein
supplements may be prescribed. Some medicines, such as oral corticosteroids, can stimulate the appetite and lead to weight gain. Losing excess
weight can help, especially when the leg joints are affected. Foods high in
protein, iron, and vitamins contribute to tissue building and
Physical activity is important in the treatment of arthritis. Thirty minutes of moderate
exercise a day can help to prevent complications of arthritis, as well as
stroke, and diabetes. Low impact aerobics and water aerobics are two exercises that minimize
A recent study focused on adults with osteoarthritis who used tai chi, a form of Chinese
exercise that uses slow, fluid movements. Study participants reported better
management of their symptoms, along with improved physical and mental health.
Surgery may be indicated when pain cannot be controlled or function is lost.
Several types of surgery may be done:
arthroplasty, which is the partial or total replacement of a joint, such as knee joint replacement or a
hip joint replacement
arthroscopy, a procedure that uses a small scope and instruments to
get inside the joint without opening it
arthrotomy, which involves opening the joint through a larger
osteotomy, or realignment of the bone next to the
synovectomy, or removal of the lining of the joint
There has been a great deal of interest lately in the use of glucosamine and
chondroitin. These dietary supplements may decrease joint pain associated with arthritis. A large
scale study is currently being conducted to determine their effectiveness.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Medicines used to treat arthritis may cause stomach upset, allergic reaction, and decreased
to infection. Surgery may cause bleeding, infection, or
allergic reaction to
What happens after treatment for the condition?
Most types of arthritis require lifelong treatment. Exercises to maintain
range of motion and muscle strength are very important.
How is the condition monitored?
A healthcare provider will monitor the person's level of comfort and function
of the joint. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the