There are over 100 medications and drugs being used in the treatment of arthritis as well as hundreds more natural remedies and treatments. Equally there are over 150 different types of arthritis all of which affect the joints and bones. When determining the right treatment program it is good to look at all different options including prescription, over the counter, topical, NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and natural. Depending upon the type of arthritis and its intensity can determine if natural treatments can decrease mild pain and inflammation or prescription medicine should be used. Although, drug side effects are not intended, many people suffer from adverse reactions due to the ingestion of prescription medication. Additionally long term prescription use can lead to dependency and product abuse. Determine the safest form of treatment for your needs based a look at all of these arthritis treatments.
The most common thing to expect now a days when you go to the doctor is to walk out with one or more prescriptions for medication. Our society has become codependent on the use of prescription medication. However, more and more it seems that prescriptions cause new symptoms without relieving the old symptoms. Even though the medication has been tested and approved as safe. Unfortunately, some medications can be addictive, alter mood, thoughts and behavior or diminish capacity. It is these reactions that cause people to abuse prescription medications. Eventually overtime they need more and more to get the same effect, which causes long term use and ultimate damage to the brain and body.
Prescription analgesics or narcotics are the forms of treatment for arthritis that can eventually cause long term health benefits and abuse. Analgesics decrease the pain that is caused by arthritis but cannot reduce inflammation. Therefore if arthritis pain is severe or unbearable and there is no inflammation associated with the arthritis these medications should be prescribed. In addition for people who are allergic or have stomach problems with NSAID’s, analgesics can be a recommended alternative. Some of these prescription medications include Codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, percocet, and darvocet.
Another form of prescribed medication is known as NSAID’s. Although there are prescribed and over the counter (OTC) forms of these drugs. NSAID’s reduce the symptoms of arthritis such as joint swelling, stiffness and pain. Additionally they can reduce fevers and prevent blood clots. Some prescription NSAID’s includes celebrex, and naproxen while OTC include ibuprofen and aspirin. Misuse of NSAID’s can be dangerous to the body by causing stomach ulcers, bleeding, and liver and kidney malfunction. Over dosage of these drugs causes a blockage of the enzyme that protects the stomach lining causing the acid to eat away at the stomach.
Arthritis pain relief can be found in other non-prescription medications as well. Not all OTC medications are NSAIDs, such as Excedrin, Tylenol and Aspirin free Anacin. The main ingredients in these drugs are acetaminophen, which helps in reduction of pain relief, however does nothing for inflammation or swelling. These OTC medications should only be taken if pain is minimal to mild in severity. Excess usage of these OTC drugs can lead to liver damage or possibly death especially in the case of alcoholics.
Topical pain relievers come in the forms of creams, salves oils, lotions, patches, ointments and gels to reduce pain and inflammation for arthritis sufferers. These are applied on top of the skin to be absorbed trans-dermally. Most topical applications are available OTC, however prescription topical pain relievers normally include a patch that releases medication into the skin to be absorbed by the bloodstream. Topical treatments only affect a small area that is affected possibly 1 maybe 2 joints at a time. One set of topical analgesics has the main ingredient capsaicin, which is normally found in hot peppers. Capsaicin creams work by blocking the transmission of substance P. This substance is a neurochemical that transmits pain to the brain. Products with capsaicin include Capzasin-HP.
Another topical OTC agent includes the ingredients camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol, all of which can be used in natural arthritis remedies. Topical analgesics such as these relieve pain by tricking the body to feel hot or cold from the active ingredients. Items include Arthricare, Eucalyptamint and Icy Hot commonly found in the grocery store. One topical pain reliever that not only reduces pain but decreases inflammation as well involves the ingredient Salicylates. Salicylates can also be used as NSAID’s however topically they are found in Aspercreme, Ben Gay, and Flexall.
If you are opposed to prescription medication and OTC drugs, natural treatments and remedies would be a better route to take. Although topical creams can relieve some pain they don’t work on the whole body and can be ineffective over long periods of time. Although alternative treatments are becoming more popular, traditional medicine and most of the US population are still weary of unconventional treatments. However, Eastern medicines and modern research are proving that some alternative therapies are leading the way to pain relief and decreased inflammation. Relaxation not only has mental benefits to the mind and spirit however it affects the body and its ability to function properly as well. Modern medicine has shown that relaxation techniques such as meditation, prayer, hypnosis, yoga and massage therapy are all ways to decrease bodily pain and improve function. Due to the damage that arthritis can take on the body, it is necessary for certain types of arthritis sufferers to rely on a relaxing environment. Stress plays a major role in both physical and mental aspects of health. By learning ways to relax you can take the pressure off of the joints and bones and reduce your pain scale.
Sarah Labdar, “What Arthritis Medication Can Do For You”, Everyday Health