Get answers to your Shoulder and Elbow questions.
The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage. The underlying cause cannot usually be cured.
Lifestyle changes are the preferred treatment for osteoarthritis and other types of joint inflammation. Exercise can help relieve stiffness, reduce pain and fatigue, and improve muscle and bone strength. Your health care team can help you design an exercise program that is best for you.
Exercise programs may include:
Physical therapy may be recommended. This might include:
Medications may be prescribed along with lifestyle changes. All medications have risks, some more than others. It is important that you are closely monitored by a doctor when taking arthritis medications.
Generally, over-the-counter medications are recommended first:
Prescription medicines include:
It is very important to take your medications as directed by your doctor. If you are having difficulty doing so (for example, because of side effects), you should talk to your doctor. Also make sure your doctor knows about all the medicines you are taking, including vitamins and supplements bought without a prescription.
SURGERY AND OTHER TREATMENTS
In some cases, surgery may be done if other treatments have not worked. This may include:
A few arthritis-related disorders can be completely cured with proper treatment.
Most forms of arthritis however are long-term (chronic) conditions.
Complications of arthritis include:
Call your doctor if:
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Hunter DJ, Lo GH. The management of osteoarthritis: an overview and call to appropriate conservative treatment. Med Clin North Am. 2009;93:127-43, xi.
Huizinga TW, Pincus T. In the clinic. Rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Jul 6;153(1):ITC1-1-ITC1-15.
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