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Medications for Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is the medical condition caused by inflammation of joints in your body. Usually, it also affects the surrounding tissue, such as muscles, ligaments and bones. There are different types of the disorder, and the most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Lupus and psoriasis less commonly affect the joints.

Joint consists of different parts, including: cartilage, synovium (the membrane which produces synovial fluid to lubricate the joint) and joint capsule. Damage on any of the parts of the joint can cause pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system attacks the healthy cells of the joint and causes synovium inflammation. This inflammation leads to redness, swelling and pain of the joints.

Osteoarthritis is caused by aging. With years, cartilage of the joints gets worn off. The bone is directly connected to the bone, and the friction causes pain. Infections or joint injuries may speed up the process and lead to osteoarthritis in young people.

Risk Factors

Rick factors for developing arthritis are usually the age, genetic predispositions, preexisting joint problems, weight and sex. Elderly people are more likely to develop this condition, especially older women, who usually suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Weight also plays an important role in arthritis. Obesity causes much more pressure to the joints and lead to joint stress and damage. Athletes or people that had previous joint injury are more prone to arthritis than the other people.

Treatment for Arthritis

  • Patients suffering from this disorder usually take analgesic to reduce the pain. The most common are tramadol (Tylenol), acetaminophen (Ultram) and narcotics, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or oxycodone (Percocet).
  • There are also counter-irritant medications, including capsaicin from the chilies and menthol.
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (ibuprofen, naproxen, Aspirin, etc) affect inflammation and ease the pain. These medications are available as tablets, gels and creams. The downsides are side effects: digestive problems and possibility of a stroke and heart attack.
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisolone and cortisone, taken orally or injected to the joint, can also decrease the arthritis pain.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are methotrexate (Trexall) and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). These medications affect the immune system and disable it to attack healthy joint tissue.
  • Biologics are TNF blockers: etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab (Remicade). These drugs also modify immune system.

Alternative Approaches

These alternative treatments usually include the use of acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (also known as TENS) or  supplements containing glucosamine and some other substances.

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