More than 58 million Americans have arthritis, which is also the leading cause of work disability in the United States. May is Arthritis Awareness Month and an ideal opportunity to explore how this condition affects so many physically and emotionally and how you can manage the pain and reclaim a better quality of life.
At our practice in Sherman Oaks, California, interventional pain management expert Dr. Edward Carden understands the toll arthritis takes on your overall well-being. But there’s no need to accept arthritis and the pain it causes as an inevitable part of the aging process.
In honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, we want to share four non-surgical treatments for arthritis pain.
1. Physical therapy
Arthritis causes joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Exercising is one of the best things to ease that joint stiffness, which reduces pain and inflammation. Immobility negatively affects joint health, worsening your pain.
With physical therapy, you work with experts in mobility and function. They create exercise plans that improve:
- Joint mobility
- Supportive muscle strength
- Overall flexibility
- Physical fitness
Physical therapy also teaches you how to maintain your mobility and flexibility, helping to slow down joint damage.
Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications are your first line of defense against an acute flare-up of arthritis pain. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing inflammation and damage that may lead to common deformity. DMARDs slow down the progression of the disease, helping to preserve joint health.
3. Joint injections
Joint injections are also non-surgical treatment options for arthritis pain. This includes corticosteroid injections, which we inject directly into the arthritic joint to reduce inflammation and pain.
For patients with osteoarthritis in the knee, we may try viscosupplementation injections. Viscosupplementation contains a hyaluronic acid (HA) gel. HA is a lubricating substance naturally found in the joints. Injecting HA into the knee lubricates the joint, easing the friction and pain.
4. Radiofrequency ablation
For more long-term relief, we may try radiofrequency ablation. This interventional pain management treatment doesn't treat the joint itself but ablates (heats and destroys) the nerve sending the pain messages to the brain.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that provides arthritis pain relief for about six months. We can treat large joints, like your knees, or small joints, like the facet joints in your spine.
When it comes to arthritis, it’s better to start treatment sooner rather than later. We can design a plan that eases your pain and preserves your joint, potentially preventing or delaying the need for joint surgery.
Arthritis is joint and, for some, debilitating. Let us help you take control of your arthritis pain. Call our office at 310-842-8668 or book an appointment online today. We also offer virtual visits.