These Arthritis Home Remedies May Be Worth A Try As Part Of Your Overall Doctor
While medication is a cornerstone and critical part of managing arthritis, home remedies and lifestyle changes can be important in your arthritis treatment plan too, says Susan Blum, MD, MPH, chronic disease specialist, assistant clinical professor in the department of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and author of Healing Arthritis: The 3-Step Guide To Conquering Arthritis Naturally.
You need to treat arthritis from a whole body perspective, not simply a medical one, which means incorporating all facets of wellness, including what you do at home, she says. She knows firsthand of what she speaks, noting that she uses home remedies to help her own arthritis and autoimmune disorder. She swears by a daily meditation, green smoothies, gardening, and walking outdoors.
However, its important to note that home remedies should not replace medication. And you need a healthy amount of skepticism when deciding which ones to try and implement, says Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Many natural remedies arent backed by science or the research is very limited or weak. And even for therapies that have shown to be effective, supplements and natural therapies are not regulated the same way prescription medications are, so the purity and quality can vary widely, he adds.
What Are Bone Spurs
Bone spurs are of two basic types. One is the kind that arises near a joint with osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. In this situation, the cartilage has been worn through and the bone responds by growing extra bone at the margins of the joint surface. These spurs carry the formal name osteophytes. They are common features of the osteoarthritic shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle. Removing these osteophytes is an important part of joint replacement surgery but removing them without addressing the underlying arthritis is usually not effective in relieving symptoms.
The second type of bone spur is the kind that occurs when the attachment of ligaments or tendons to bone become calcified. This can occur on the bottom of the foot around the Achilles Tendon and in the coroacoacromial ligament of the shoulder. These spurs often look impressive on X-rays, but because they are in the substance of the ligaments rarely cause sufficient problems to merit excision.
Talk With Your Doctor About Stronger Pain Relief Treatments
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S For Reducing Fluid In The Knee
Step 1 Stop any activity that may have caused the knee to swell, like running, jumping or twisting. Terminate action that makes your knee swell or hurt. You might have to avoid driving if it causes discomfort to run the brake or gas pedals.
Step 2 Rest with the leg elevated to reduce swelling naturally. This allows fluid to drain away, and reduces pressure on the joint. Dont walk or put weight on the knee unnecessarily until the pain and fluid have gone away.
Step 3 Use a cold pack to reduce pain and reduce fluid accumulation. You can use a wash cloth taken in cold water, or an industrial cold pack kept in the freezer. Do not use ice or freezer loads directly on the skin instead, wrap the frozen item in a towel and cover it around the knee. Apply this cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes every two to four hours as needed for pain.
Step 4 Wrap the leg with an elastic bandage. This must reduce build-up of fluid on the knee. Do not wrap the knee so securely that it cuts off circulation get rid of the bandage if numbness or tingling in the foot happens, or if the foot feels warm.
Step 5 Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen to decrease or prevent inflammation, MayoClinic.com recommends. Trademark name medications that include NSAIDs can include Advil, Motrin or Aleve. Take them with food to prevent stomach inflammation. A painkiller, such as acetaminophen or Tylenol, can likewise be used to relieve pain, but will not reduce the inflammation in the knee.
Arthritis Foods: How Your Diet Can Help Or Hurt
The medical profession treats arthritis like it treats most other diseases with drugs. Anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, and corticosteroids are among the most commonly prescribed drugs for arthritis management. This approach can provide relief from symptoms, at least for a while, but it doesnt address the root causes of disease. No form of arthritis is caused by a prescription drug deficiency. And while there are many factors that contribute to the development, progression, and severity of arthritis, one of the most powerful and fortunately within our control is diet.
There are two dietary approaches to the management of arthritis: foods to get rid of, and foods to add. Certain foods appear to spark inflammation in the joints and are thus commonly referred to as trigger foods. Removing these foods from the diet can reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
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Know When To See Your Doctor
While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
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Possible Cause #: Osteoarthritis
Another common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis . OA is sometimes called degenerative arthritis. It affects nearly 27 million Americans. Its most common in people over age 65.
This type of arthritis results from wear and tear on your joints. Cartilage, the thin tissue that protects the bones in your joints, wears away with use. Over time, the cartilage can no longer protect your bones.
OA can affect any joint in the body, but it most often affects the:
As OA progresses, it can begin to cause symptoms other than stiffness. These include:
- cracking sounds when the joint is in motion
As the condition worsens, your bones may break more easily, and you could develop bone spurs. In advanced stages of OA, the cartilage disappears. Bones rub against other bones in your joint. This can cause extreme pain, stiffness, and disability.
Treatment for OA can help replace some of the lost cartilage and fluid in your joints. Lifestyle treatments aimed at reducing weight and pressure on joints can be effective too. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.
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What Are The Complications Of Knee Surgery
Infection: The risk of infection is less than 1-2% and peri-operative antibiotics are given to prevent this from happening.
Deep vein thrombosis : This is prevented by giving blood thinners and the use of compressive stockings. Also mobilising as soon as possible after the surgery is a good way of preventing a clot in the leg. If a clot occurs it will be treated with specific blood thinners. Very rarely a clot can move to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.
Nerve and blood vessel damage: It is unlikely that any major nerve or vessel will be damaged. An area of numbness to the outside of the incision is however very common but few patients find this is a problem.
Prosthesis failure: The prosthesis may fail due to the plastic wearing out and it may require revision.
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: Very rarely a condition can occur where the leg becomes stiff, hypersensitive and painful. This requires specific treatment by a pain management specialist.
Excessive bleeding: This usually settles but may require an operation to remove the haematoma .
Excessive scarring: Some skin will scar up significantly .
Pain with kneeling: Kneeling following total knee replacement is the exception rather than the rule. Some patients can and some canât. Most knee replacement are not designed for kneeling.
What Are Joint Injections
After joint aspiration, your healthcare provider may inject corticosteroids into the joint. This anti-inflammatory medication eases pain, swelling and stiffness. The drugs may also slow the return of excess fluid to the joint.
Steroid injections work best for inflammatory conditions like arthritis and tendonitis. Treatment effects last a couple of months. You shouldnt get more than four injections in the same joint within a year. Steroid overuse can damage the joint and weaken supporting tendons and ligaments.
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Managing Your Arthritis Flare Ups
Even when your arthritis is well-controlled, itâs still possible to have a flare-up. Arthritis symptoms will get temporarily worse after a time of being less severe. When you experience a flare-up, a joint or joints may swell or become more swollen you may even feel more pain and stiffness, especially in the morning then your body may feel more fatigued. When you have all these things happening at the same time, the flare-up is considered more serious. There are ways to deal with your flare-ups, here are three steps you may want to take to help yourself when you have an arthritis flare-up.
Step 1: Recognizing what is happening, when itâs happening.The first step to managing a flare is to first recognize when you are having one. If you can identify that you are having a flare-up then it becomes easier to start managing it. Being aware of your body and how it feels and learning to pay attention to how arthritis affects your body makes it easier to see if there are any changes, then you will be able to recognize it. When you realize there has been a change, admit it, donât go into denial and hope that everything will just get better on its own. It doesnât.
Calcium And Vitamin D
Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt can also provide vitamin D and calcium, which may help to strengthen the bones.
Scientists have found evidence of low vitamin D levels in people with OA.
Consuming more vitamin D through fortified dairy foods and regular, safe, exposure to sunlight may offer benefits for people with OA.
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What Are Potential Risks Or Complications Of Arthrocentesis And Joint Injections
Joint aspirations and injections are relatively safe. Rarely, these complications develop:
- Allergic reaction: Some people are allergic to the anesthetic or the injectable medication. In very rare instances, this can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening response.
- Infection: Rarely, people develop infections after getting steroid injections.
- Post-injection flare: An estimated 1 in 50 people develop post-injection flare several hours after getting an injection. It causes joint swelling and pain that subsides in a few days.
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How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some of the following diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have knee arthritis:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Blood tests for genetic markers or RA antibodies
- X-rays to determine cartilage loss in the knee
- Joint aspiration: drawing out and testing the synovial fluid inside the knee joint
Cartilage cannot be seen on X-ray, but narrowing of the joint space between the bones indicates lost cartilage. X-rays show bone spurs and cysts, which can be caused by osteoarthritis. Other tests such as MRI or CT scans are rarely needed for diagnosis.
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What Is The Long
Some knee pain, especially pain caused by osteoarthritis, will likely be permanent. Thats because the structure of the knee is damaged. Without surgery or another type of extensive treatment, youll continue to feel pain, inflammation, and swelling in your knee.
The long-term outlook for chronic knee pain involves managing pain, preventing flare-ups, and working to reduce irritation to the knee.
Treatment Benefit Not Seen
In people with osteoarthritis of the knee, published clinical trials comparinginjections of viscosupplements with placebo have yielded inconsistent results.Higher quality and larger trials have generally found lower levels of clinicalimprovement in pain and function than small and poor quality trials.
- Any clinical improvement attributable to viscosupplementation is likelysmall and not clinically meaningful.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
Various hyaluronan products are available for knee joint injection, primarilydiffering in the molecular weight of the compound. While some trials suggestbetter clinical response to the highest molecular weight hyaluronan product,other trials have not confirmed this finding.
Overall, evidence is insufficient to demonstrate clinical benefit for the highermolecular weight products.
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Is Surgery Used To Treat Knee Osteoarthritis
If your doctor wants to treat the osteoarthritis in the knee with surgery, the options are arthroscopy, osteotomy, and arthroplasty.
- Arthroscopy uses a small telescope and other small instruments. The surgery is performed through small incisions. The surgeon uses the arthroscope to see into the joint space. Once there, the surgeon can remove damaged cartilage or loose particles, clean the bone surface, and repair other types of tissue if those damages are discovered. The procedure is often used on younger patients in order to delay more serious surgery.
- An osteotomy is a procedure that aims to make the knee alignment better by changing the shape of the bones. This type of surgery may be recommended if you have damage primarily in one area of the knee. It might also be recommended if you have broken your knee and it has not healed well. An osteotomy is not permanent, and further surgery may be necessary later on.
- Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which joints are replaced with artificial parts made from metals or plastic. The replacement could involve one side of the knee or the entire knee. Joint replacement surgery is usually reserved for people over age 50 with severe osteoarthritis. The surgery may need to be repeated later if the prosthetic joint wears out after several years. But with today’s modern advancements, most new joints will last over 20 years. The surgery has risks, but the results are generally very good.
What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Arthritis Of The Knee
Your healthcare provider will interview you when you report your symptoms. Some questions might include:
- Does anyone in your family have arthritis of the knee?
- Does your knee swell up?
- Is your skin often red?
- Is your skin often warm?
- Do you have symptoms in one knee or both?
- How long have you had these symptoms?
- What medications do you take?
- How severe is your pain?
- Do you struggle to walk?
- Do the symptoms interfere with your daily activities?
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Fish Oil Supplements For Arthritis
Youve probably already heard that fish oils containing omega-3 are good for your joints, brain and heart health.
Thats due to omega-3 is made up of two compounds called DHA and EPA which have been linked to reducing cell inflammation.
As arthritis causes inflammation, upping your intake of fish oil supplements packed with omega fatty acids could help thanks to their natural anti-inflammatory effects.
Studies have also shown that fatty acids could help to reduce joint pain and stiffness.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout are great sources of omega-3.
If you dont eat fish, omega-3 is also found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils or supplements like Algal oil or Ahi Flower.
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Do I Have Arthritis In My Knee
Dr. Ekaterina Urch, orthopedic surgeon and knee specialist, covers the symptoms, causes, and best treatment options for knee arthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the result of inflammation in one or more of your joints. This inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in various joints within the body and can even lead people to replacing their joints because the arthritis has interfered with their every-day activity level. This can be particularly true with arthritis felt in the knee, one of the more common areas where arthritis can occur. Depending on how bad the pain is, it can interfere with the activities people enjoy and can keep them from pursuing an active life.
What are the different types of arthritis?
Not all types of arthritis are created equal. In fact, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis. However, the two more common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, which is known as a degenerative wear-and-tear type of arthritis, is commonly found in the knee. It is rare for osteoarthritis to be found in younger people. It is more commonly found in people 50 years of age and older.
Why is osteoarthritis causing you so much pain?
Symptoms of knee arthritis:
Other symptoms of knee arthritis:
Nonsurgical treatment for knee arthritis:
Other nonsurgical options to help ease arthritis pain:
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Make Your Own Heat Pad
Fill a cotton sock with uncooked rice grains and seal it. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. When it cools down slightly but is still nice and warm, place it on sore, stiff joints. Your DIY heat pad should stay warm for about half an hour. The rice grains will shape to your body and provide soothing heat. If you have lavender or another fragrant herb on hand, toss it in with the rice grains for an additional relaxing aromatherapy treatment, too. Check out these other home remedies for arthritis even doctors recommend.