There are a few types of arthritis, but no matter what type you have, you can suffer from pain that makes your life complicated and frustrating. As your joints deteriorate, they may become stiff and lose their range of motion. The disease can affect you in a number of ways, and that's why it's important to work with your doctor to find the best treatment for your condition. Here are some arthritis treatments your doctor might suggest.
Medications are often important for your treatment. You might take pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, biologic medications, hyaluronic acid injections, or steroid shots. Over-the-counter medications might be recommended or you may need prescription drugs.
Physical therapy helps your joints stay as flexible as possible. Exercise can also reduce pain, enhance your mood, and help control your weight. Your physical therapist can teach you how to exercise to benefit your condition and to do it safely. They might recommend swimming, strength training, or stretching. You may be encouraged to maintain an exercise program at home.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are sometimes given to help arthritis, especially in the early stages. When the problem with your joints is the deterioration of the cartilage, your doctor might suggest PRP injections to help your body regenerate the cartilage so your bones don't rub together.
PRP injections are made from a sample of your blood that's spun down to separate the plasma that contains platelets. Platelets contain growth factors that help your body repair itself. When the PRP is injected into a joint, the growth factors might stimulate the growth of the cartilage. The injections also help with pain relief by reducing inflammation.
Surgery isn't always needed for arthritis, but if you continue to have pain or joint stiffness that has a negative impact on your life, your doctor might recommend joint surgery. Surgery is an effective arthritis treatment because it removes the diseased joint. A total joint replacement takes out your bad joint and replaces it with a new artificial joint.
While a joint replacement is common and can be done on many joints in your body, your doctor might do a bone fusion instead that immobilizes the joint. When the bones are fused together, you won't be able to move your joint normally, but that keeps bones from rubbing together to create pain.
Arthritis is a progressive condition that gets worse over time, so starting treatment early might slow the progression and buy you more time to lead an active lifestyle and be free from pain. It's often challenging to find just the right treatment for pain relief, so you and your doctor may need to try different things and change your treatments as your condition changes.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about arthritis treatments.