There are over 53 million adults living with arthritis in the United States. If you’re 65 or older, chances are, you have arthritis. The good news is – there are many simply things you can do to reduce your symptoms, reduce your disability, and improve the quality of your life.
Arthritis limits your ability to walk, stoop, bend, kneel, climb stairs, and grasp. Research shows that of those adults with either heart disease or diabetes, approximately 50% also have arthritis, and more than 25% have activity limitations caused by their arthritis.
Here are several ways to mitigate the limitations caused by arthritis.
Like most adults, are bodies feel stiff after long periods of inactivity (like sleeping, air travel, or sitting still). Simple walking can ease joint pain and improve your quality of life. Aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening have been proven to reduce pain and improve the limiting functions of arthritis.
Studies have shown that engaging in moderate-intensity, low-impact activities, such as walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics—are good forms of exercise that help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Do not undertake any exercise without first consulting your doctor.
2. Manage Your Weight
Let’s face it – as we age we tend to put on a few extra pounds. Losing weight and managing a healthy weight is particularly important for people with arthritis. As mentioned above, simply low-impact physical activity (like walking) combined with dietary changes can lead to successful weight loss for people with arthritis. In fact, losing as little as 10 to 12 pounds can improve pain and function.
A simply and long-lasting lifestyle change to lose pounds is to avoid sugar . On average, Americans consume an astounding 150 pounds of sugar a year. Removing soft drinks, breakfast cereal, and sugary snacks can cut your weight significantly in short order.
Although there have not been significant studies to correlate the benefits of certain supplements, many people have found taking glucosamine and chondroitin have slowed the progression of arthritis. Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, however, more research is needed to prove it’s pain-relieving benefits. There is also some evidence that people with arthritis could benefit from rose hips and highly concentrated ginger, although many people have found simple relief from taking a warm bath. Unlike extended research and clinical trails required for prescription drugs, most supplements lack the scientific studies needed to prove their effectiveness but some people swear by them.
4. Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies
There are a number of OTC remedies available at your local drug store to counter the symptoms of arthritis. Some of those remedies include topical creams, mentholated ointments, and oral medications. Excedrin, Motrin, Tylenol, Aleve, and common aspirin have proven to be low-cost and effective at relieving the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
5. Prescription Medications
By far, the most effective short and long-term treatments for arthritis have been found in prescription drugs. There are a variety of treatment options depending on your symptoms. You’ve probably heard of a group of medications known asnonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs interfere with chemicals called prostaglandins in the body, which trigger pain, inflammation, and fever.
As mentioned above, some NSAIDs are available over-the-counter for relief of pain and fever at your local drugstore, including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. Prescription doses of NSAIDs also curb inflammation. There are also many other prescription NSAIDs available such as celecoxib (Celebrex), ketoprofen (Orudis), naproxen (Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), and sulindac (Clinoril); however, you will need a prescription from your doctor to obtain these drugs.
6. Talk to Your Doctor
If you’ve already tried a variety of pain relievers, supplements, and OTC medications and your joints are still throbbing, or you just can’t tolerate NSAIDs or acetaminophen, your doctor may recommend stronger opioid or narcotic pain relievers.
Prescription medications can be very expensive. If you lack insurance, a prescription benefit, or are paying full price for your medications, you can save up to 75% at your local pharmacy by using our free prescription drug card. Visit EasyDrugCard.com to get your free drug card today.
Make sure you discuss any exercise, dietary and or medication changes with your medical professional prior to making those changes. Share with them your medical history so that they may determine the best course of action for you.
Common Medications to treat Arthritis:
|Anexsia (different strengths with varying amounts of hydrocodone), Co-gesic, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Zydone||acetaminophen and hydrocodone|
|Darvocet A500, Darvocet-N 100, Darvocet-N 50||acetaminophen and propoxyphene|
|Excedrin Back and Body||acetaminophen and aspirin|
|Excedrin Tension Headache||acetaminophen and caffeine|
|Excedrin, Vanquish||acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine|
|Oxycet, Percocet, Roxicet, Roxilox, Tylox||acetaminophen and oxycodone|
|Tylenol with Codeine||acetaminophen and codeine|
|Ultracet||acetaminophen and tramadol|
NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
|Advil, Cap-profen, IBU-Tab, Ibuprohm, Medipren, Motrin, Tab-profen||ibuprofen|
|Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naprelan||naproxen|
|Cataflam, Voltaren, VoltarenXR||diclofenac|
|Lodine, Lodine XL (Discontinued, only generic available now)||etodolac|
|Indocin, Indocin SR||indomethacin|
|Orudis, Orudis KT (Discontinued, only generic available now)||ketoprofen|
|Relafen (Brand discontinued)||nabumetone|
|Aristospan, Kenalog-10, Kenalog-40, Triesence, Trivaris (injection)||triamcinolone|
|Celestone Soluspan (injection)||betamethasone|
|A-methapred, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol (injection)||methylprednisolone|
DMARDs (Oral Form)
|Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune||cyclosporine|
DMARDs (Subcutaneous Injection)
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