The pain of arthritis is not only frustrating, but over time it can begin to interfere with your daily life. While the condition cannot be cured completely, there are treatments available that can provide relief. Best Health brought together some of the tried and true methods of our guide to treatments that work, but what about the other options available?
The following treatments have proven useful for some people with arthritis. Talk to your doctor to determine if it could work for you.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Despite the huge initial promise and the large sales of supplements worldwide, this duo of natural remedies is probably not as useful for arthritis as we once expected, either separately or together. When the researchers evaluated 15 studies that analyzed their use for arthritis, they all pointed to the same conclusion: glucosamine is not effective. Then, the most extensive and comprehensive study on the use of glucosamine and chondroitin, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the combination was no more effective than a placebo for reducing mild to moderate knee pain.
The only exceptions were that people who took chondroitin alone responded better than those who took glucosamine alone and that the supplements seemed to have some measurable benefit to the subset of participants whose arthritis pain was at a higher than moderate level. The general conclusion: for most people with arthritis, pills have few benefits; For those with more intense pain, it can be considered as part of a broader treatment program.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
In this treatment, hyaluronic acid is injected to replace a natural substance called hyaluronan that functions as motor oil in the joint to allow bone cartilage surfaces to slide over each other without problems. For some people, injections of this thick liquid can help reduce pain for a year or more. And clinical studies show that therapy is as effective in relieving pain as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. But these injections do not work for everyone, they should be administered relatively frequently and are expensive. For this reason, most doctors consider injections (also called joint fluid therapy) only as a backup plan if other remedies do not work.
It is excellent for certain types of nausea, but there is also evidence that this anti-inflammatory herb can help with the pain, swelling and stiffness of osteoarthritis, especially in the knee. In a study of 261 people with knee osteoarthritis, volunteers received a sugar pill or ginger extract. The result: 63 percent of the ginger group experienced pain relief compared to 50 percent of the placebo group. Even better: unlike some pain relievers, ginger causes few or no stomach problems. Generously use fresh ginger in your kitchen, prepare boiling tea several slices of fresh ginger or, for maximum benefit, take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of powdered ginger root daily.
White willow bark, the original source of salicin, the active ingredient in aspirin, seems to relieve the pain of arthritis, although it will not work as well as traditional pain relievers.
This somewhat controversial supplement has a good amount of scientific and analgesic support for arthritis. SAM-e is the abbreviation for S-adenosyl-methionine, a natural chemical in the body that has many functions. In test tube and animal research, it protects the cells that produce cartilage and stimulates them to produce lubricating chemicals in the joints. It is sold as a medicine in some countries and as an over-the-counter supplement in others, it has proven to be as effective as some COX-2 inhibitors in relieving arthritis pain. , but it takes longer to act. An analysis of 14 studies of SAM-e showed that it is also effective in improving mobility in people with osteoarthritis. However, high doses of SAM-e can cause several side effects, and it interacts with many medications. Use it only after talking with your doctor.
This form of surgery replenishes or reshapes the bones of the knee to remove the weight of the damaged arthritic area. A review of numerous studies found that while it improves knee function and reduces pain in people with knee arthritis, there is still no evidence of whether it is more effective than conservative approaches such as exercise and pain relievers.
Remember that not all arthritis treatments are the same. Here are some treatments that would be best avoided.
In this type of surgery, the surgeon makes small incisions in the knee, then uses small tools to clean the debris and remove or sand torn and torn pieces of cartilage (arthroscopic debridement) or remove calcium phosphate residues and crystals (arthroscopic lavage) . But in an important study in which 180 people were treated with one of the two procedures or with a false arthroscopic procedure, the researchers found that the surgeries not only did not work but were also potentially harmful. The researchers followed the patients for two years after the surgery and discovered that those who underwent the fake surgery actually climbed the stairs and walked a little faster than those who came true.
There is little evidence that aspirin-containing creams such as Aspercreme are effective in treating arthritis pain. A review of nine studies found that while creams tend to work quite well for aches and pains (such as the pain of raking leaves), they are not very good at relieving chronic arthritis pain.
Some natural healing professionals theorize that vitamin E and other antioxidants reduce inflammation and relieve the pain of arthritis. Vitamin E has been evaluated in five high quality clinical trials. Although two concluded that the vitamin worked better than a placebo to reduce pain, and one found that it worked as well as an NSAID, the two largest and longest trials found no difference between the vitamin and a placebo in terms of reducing pain. of osteoarthritis of the knee. . In addition, recent studies show that taking daily vitamin E supplements at a dose of 400 milligrams or more can be dangerous.