Literally meaning “joint inflammation,” arthritis can range in severity from mild discomfort to persistent pain with every movement, leaving patients with symptoms including discomfort, swelling, tenderness and joint stiffness. And the approach to pain management for arthritis sufferers can vary just as much as its symptoms. Here are a few of the most common arthritis management options, presented by the experienced back surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.
Medications for Arthritis Pain Management
While medications may not completely relieve pain, the right combination and dosage can significantly reduce discomfort. Some common medications used for arthritis pain management* include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium)
- OTC acetaminophen (for mild and moderate pain)
- Prilosec, Nexium, Zantac, Pepcid (to protect your stomach while taking NSAIDs)
- Glucosamine and chondroitin (often recommended for osteoarthritis)
- Skin creams made from capsaicin (for relief of mild symptoms)
- Prescription NSAIDs (stronger versions of OTC NSAIDs for severe pain and inflammation)
- Topical NSAIDs (often prescribed for hand and knee arthritis)
- Cox-2 inhibitors (drugs like Celebrex used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation)
- Prescription narcotics (often prescribed for patients not responding to other medications prescribed for pain management)
- Steroid medications (typically injected into the affected area)
*Note: Alcohol should not be consumed while taking NSAIDs, acetaminophen or narcotics for arthritis pain management.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis Pain Management
If you want to minimize or eliminate side effects, there are certain natural remedies* that can be used for pain management which include:
- Hot and cold therapy (in the form of long, warm showers or baths to ease stiffness)
- Cold treatments (in the form of gel or ice packs, typically for joint pain relief)
- Acupuncture (involving the careful insertion of needles at strategic points)
*Note: Check with your doctor before adjusting your treatment approach.
While it’s not necessarily possible to prevent arthritis, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of joint damage. These steps include maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on joints, exercising to keep muscle strong, practicing proper lifting techniques, improving your posture and eating a well-balanced diet to maintain bone and muscle strength.
If you have tried natural remedies and prescription medications and are still living with back or neck pain as the result of your arthritis, it may be time to look into other methods. Decompression spine surgery is just one option that can help to eliminate or reduce back pain. For more information or to request a consultation, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration today at (310) 828-7757.