The conservative medical community tends to treat arthritis with painkillers and exercise. This is because these drug therapies have been around for at least fifty years and surgery has a fairly high success rate, while many other remedies like dietary supplements are relative newcomers to the scene.
Painkillers are not the solution to the problem. They mask the symptoms by providing temporary relief and often worsen the disease. Besides, they have side effects; most drugs prescribed for arthritis pain can upset the stomach and cause nausea and diarrhea. Sometimes, these drugs can compromise the wall of the gut and then the antigens leak into the system, enter the bloodstream and end up in a joint.
Once they reach the joint, they will trigger an attack by the white blood cells that are the body’s defense system. The end result is that this causes more pain and inflammation as the white blood cells release prostaglandins and leukotrienes in an attempt to dispose of the enemy. They also release digestive enzymes that begin to attack and digest the actual cartilage, bone, ligament and muscle that are supposed to be saved. This can then become a chronic problem, which is what happens in rheumatoid arthritis especially.
Other drugs like aspirin rob the body of essential vitamins – especially the B group - and minerals. Loss of these bodybuilding nutrients can cause the very same symptoms that arthritis causes. That is, pain and inflammation due to the breakdown of cartilage, bone and other important tissues.
Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like indomethicin (Indocid) and ibuprofen and others, give pain relief and reduce joint swelling, but cause stomach problems with long-term use, while the Cox –2 inhibitors like celecoxib (Celebrex) while safer for the stomach, may cause cardiovascular problems.
Steroid medication causes a loss of potassium, but retention of sodium, while penicillamine, often used to treat RA, causes a lack of copper. Gout, the only form of arthritis scientifically shown to have a direct link to diet, is often treated with colchicine, which can cause a loss of vitamin B12. One long-term effect of steroid use is osteoporosis. To prevent this and other problems, steroids such as cortisone can be injected into the painful joint.
Disease-modifying and immunosuppressive drugs are sometimes given, but they have serious side effects too, so must be closely monitored. Some of these include: - gold, by injection or orally, methotrexate (Matrex), and anti-malarial drugs to name just a few.
Unfortunately, no matter what drugs or medicinal treatment you take, often the arthritis will be too far advanced for them to work. In this case, surgery is the only option available to you. The good news with surgery is that the success rate is extremely high, with the likes of hip replacements and knee joint surgery enjoying a success rate of 95%. If successful, these replacements can last anywhere up to fifteen years before needing replaced. However, for those whose bodies reject the new additions, it can lead to even more painful arthritical problems than before, with severely debilitating results.
Since there are various types of surgery available, from the simplest bone shard removal to releasing trapped nerves, arthritis can be a treatable malaise. However, due to the after-effects that can happen, be sure to speak to your physician first.