Often when people ask whether there is a cure for arthritis, what they really want to know is whether there is a way for people with arthritis to go on living without being affected by the condition or disease. So, it’s really important to keep in mind that there are ways that arthritic changes can be treated, although there is not currently a cure.
The Difference Between a Treatment and a Cure
The term “cure” means that, after medical intervention, you no longer have that particular condition anymore. A treatment, on the other hand, can help manage a condition and improve your quality of life.
Some diseases that cause arthritis can be treated or cured. But most of the time the remaining arthritis, with or without underlying disease, causes some people to have pain and loss of function, while others are able to maintain high levels of function even with arthritis. Why is this so?
The arthritic changes in the joint have no cure but rather need to be managed with good common-sense solutions. The person may always have the condition, but there are treatments that can help mitigate the severity of problems arising from the condition and help with pain and function.
When a disease cannot be cured, treatments are used to help manage it. For example, someone suffering from knee pain due to arthritis may use the innovative AposTherapy® biomechanical medical device that can be worn at home to help manage pain and function.
Understanding Arthritis to Better Treat Knee and Joint Pain
Although there’s no cure for arthritis that causes knee and joint pain, advances in research have allowed us to better understand the different forms of the condition and develop treatments. It is important to be familiar with the type of arthritis you have. There’s a huge benefit to addressing arthritis early and taking steps that can help manage the condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term and progressive inflammatory autoimmune disorder. RA occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. The immune system’s antibodies attack the smooth lining of a joint called synovium causing pain and inflammation.
When it comes to the causes of RA, doctors do not know why the immune system malfunctions and creates the disorder. Some RA patients tend to have genetic factors that make their predisposition to RA more likely. The condition can also be triggered by bacteria or a virus. Middle-aged women are also more likely to have RA than middle-aged men but, again, physicians are still unsure of what actually causes the condition to manifest.
For patients who do not continue to have inflammatory attacks, they can be left with arthritic changes in their joints that need to be managed.
Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates over time due to wear and tear. This deterioration causes bones within the joint to rub together causing pain and joint damage.
Although OA can affect any joint in the body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine. If left unaddressed, OA can cause mobility issues, chronic pain, joint swelling, and bone spurs.
If addressed early, OA symptoms can usually be managed through diet, exercise and non-invasive effective treatment, although the damage to joints cannot be reversed.
OA is prevalent in older adults as they have had more wear and tear on their joints over time yet this type of arthritis can also come from injuries.
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused when a surplus of uric acid causes sharp crystals to form in one or more of your joints. Gout is often found in the foot but can happen in knees, ankles, elbows, and other joints in the body. Those with gout often feel painful swelling at the joint while experiencing a gout attack.
Gout attacks normally last 3-10 days but having them often can increase chances of the condition becoming chronic and affecting day-to-day activities – so managing this from the start is important.
Gout is often caused by lifestyle choices such as eating too much red meat, organ meat, and certain fishes, not drinking enough water, and alcohol consumption. Genetics, certain medications like diuretics, or pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes also make it more likely for an individual to get gout. Middle-aged men or postmenopausal women are the most common groups with this condition
Non-Invasive Pain Management Techniques and Treatments
If your doctor believes that your underlying disease or condition can be managed with certain medications, they will prescribe them to you. If your arthritis is in the earlier stages and not related to disease, they will likely suggest trying treatment options that do not involve prescription drugs.
RA and OA patients can greatly benefit from physiotherapy programmes. Physiotherapy is performed by a trained professional who assists in helping improve mobility, increase joint strength, and overall restore the use of the affected joint. Physical therapists will often recommend other treatments to use in conjunction with physiotherapy that can help conditions improve.
Doing specific exercises may help people with arthritis lose weight, increase strength in the muscles around the joints, promote bone strength, improve flexibility and range of motion, have more energy throughout the day, sleep better at night, and feel better overall.
Hot and cold packs
Hot and cold packs are suggested to help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness and reduce inflammation. Always perform these treatments following the advice of an expert.
Healthy Diet and Exercise
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise are things everyone should strive to do but are especially important for people with arthritis.
Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables and foods with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D can help promote joint and bone health.
In addition to their primary benefits, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise can also help control weight which helps ease the symptoms of arthritis, boost the body’s immune system for those with RA, and lower uric acid levels in gout patients.
Biomechanical treatments such as AposTherapy® are geared towards improving movement patterns in order to readjust the pressure on the joints and improve muscle control and coordination.
AposTherapy® was found to reduce pain, increase mobility, and improve quality of life. This study reported a reduction of over 58% in the consumption of over-the-counter painkillers after using AposTherapy®. Click below to learn more about AposTherapy®