Joint Pain and Arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis, but the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis happens because of wear and tear that causes the cartilage between joints to break down. Cartilage helps absorb pressure and shock during movement. When it starts to break down, bones rub on each other, leading to pain and bone degeneration. Top 10 Joint Pain and Arthritis Treatments
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the joints and the fluid inside the joint called synovial fluid. This causes widespread inflammation, joint deformity, and pain.
What Are Arthritis Treatment Goals?
The main goal of treating arthritis is to lower inflammation, limit any further damage to joints, improve function, and manage pain. Arthritis and joint pain treatment looks different for everyone, but there are some general approaches that can help. Sometimes it might take a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes.
Treatments for Joint Pain
There are many different rheumatoid arthritis treatments and treatments for joint pain ranging from medications to lifestyle changes.
1: Pain Relievers
Some people can manage joint and arthritis pain with over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, but these don’t lower inflammation. Sometimes acetaminophen is a good option because it doesn’t cause ulcers or intestinal bleeding the way ibuprofen can, but too much can harm the liver.
Other people might need prescription pain medications like opioids for severe pain. These pain relievers can be addictive and can cause dependency, though, so they are generally only meant for short term use.
2: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen that can help lower inflammation while also relieving pain. These work by blocking hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins.
NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding, ulcers, and can increase the risk for stroke and heart attack. These medicines aren’t recommended for people who have ulcers, inflammatory bowel diseases, or kidney issues.
3: Topical Joint Creams
Joint creams are popular rheumatoid arthritis treatments and work well for sore joints and achy muscles. Menthol or capsaicin creams block pain signals from the joints and have a cooling or warming sensation, which can help lower pain.
Topical NSAID creams and gels like diclofenac sodium can block pain signals and lower inflammation in the area. These topical creams are a great alternative to the NSAID pills that can cause digestive side effects. Topical creams, gels, and lotions typically work best on smaller joints and small areas.
Corticosteroid medicines might be necessary for severe inflammation or to suppress the immune system for rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Steroid medications work quickly, but they also have side effects like weight gain, irritability, and high blood pressure. Long term steroid use and high doses of steroids can lead to bone loss and broken bones.
5: Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are usually used for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. One such popular drug is called methotrexate.
DMARDs work by stopping inflammation and the progression of disease. Side effects include weakening the immune system, which can lead to infections and illness.
Unfortunately, joint pain causes many people to limit their activity, but regular exercise is one of the best arthritic knee pain treatments. It is also helpful for arthritis in the hip.
People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, better sleep, better joint function, and more energy. And strength training and cardio exercise help strengthen muscles, which can stabilize joints and build better balance.
Being overweight can aggravate arthritis and pain by causing joint stress and pressure. Regular exercise can help with weight loss and maintaining healthy joints. Low intensity exercises like swimming, walking, or tai chi are great forms of exercise that don’t put pressure on joints.
7: Physical Therapy
Physical therapy helps strengthen muscles around sore or arthritic joints. For example, building stronger thigh and hip muscles can stabilize the knee and help alleviate lower arthritic knee pain.
A physical therapist might use different methods, including:
- Core exercises
- Hip exercises
- Heat and cold therapy
- Ultrasound therapy
- Electrical stimulation
While no one type of eating can cure arthritis, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help lower inflammation. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet can help arthritis, help joint health, and lead to weight loss and less joint stress and pain.
The Mediterranean diet consists of:
- Nuts and seeds
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
9: Natural Treatments for Arthritis
While research hasn’t confirmed herbs and supplements as arthritis disease treatments, some people find they help lower joint pain and inflammation.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally found in cartilage, or the tissue that surrounds joints. Some evidence shows that taking these two supplements can relieve joint pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis. They might work by helping maintain cartilage and working as anti-inflammatories.
Boswellia powder, also known as frankincense, comes from the resin of the frankincense tree. The resin powder contains boswellic acids that block inflammatory chemicals. There are different species of boswellia, but research shows that boswellia serrata powder specifically can help lower inflammation from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD is an active compound called cannabidiol that comes from cannabis plants and is non-toxic and non-psychoactive.
While research is still underway, studies are promising and show CBD can lower both pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It works by binding to the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors found in joints and tissues, which leads to pain relief and inflammation regulation.
Muscle MX’s Activate+ CBD Balm and Recovery+ CBD Balm combine CBD with other natural ingredients like menthol, caffeine oil, and peppermint oil for powerful pain relief.
A Word on Natural Treatments
Before using or taking natural treatments for arthritis, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions with arthritis medications or other herbs and supplements.
Muscle MX Cannabis Solutions
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Muscle MX products are supported by physical therapists and can help relieve joint pain and muscle aches. Learn more about CBD and chronic pain.
–“What Is Arthritis?” Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis. Accessed 14 July 2021.
–“Medications for Arthritis.” Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/treatment/treatment-plan/disease-management/medications-for-arthritis. Accessed 14 July 2021.
–“Exercise and Arthritis.” American College of Rheumatology, www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Living-Well-with-Rheumatic-Disease/Exercise-and-Arthritis. Accessed 14 July 2021.
–“The Ultimate Arthritis Diet.” Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/anti-inflammatory/the-ultimate-arthritis-diet. Accessed 14 July 2021.
–Moncivaiz, Aaron. “Boswellia (Indian Frankincense).” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/boswellia. Accessed 14 July 2021.