According to the Centers for Disease Control, 25% of the American population suffers from some sort of arthritis. In most cases, people afflicted with persistent arthritis live in a condition of chronic pain.
Swollen, inflamed joints make even the simplest activities nearly impossible to complete; getting dressed for work transforms from a straightforward activity to an excruciating fumbling of zippers, buttons, and laces. fixtures. may be living with chronic pain. This arthritic pain––and its associated difficulties––can last a lifetime.
Fortunately, frontline treatment, in the form of medication, can provide great relief to sufferers of chronic arthritis. According to WebMd, doctors have a “whole range” of medications that are proven to reduce pain and allow you to return to a relatively normal lifestyle.
Though the medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a complex name, you’re likely quite familiar with them; NSAIDs can be purchased over the counter, and include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin––each with brand names you’d recognize, like Advil, Aleve, and Tylenol. These drugs interfere with chemical agents that trigger pain, inflammation, and fever within the body. Most sufferers of chronic arthritis will require a prescription-strength NSAID, such as Celebrex or Ketprofen. These medications are taken at higher dosages, and work differently than OTC NSAIDs, greatly increasing the chance of reduced pain…
A newer class of drugs, called “Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs,” or DMARDs for short, have been proven to reduce the joint damage that is caused by particularly severe forms of arthritis. In comparison to NSAIDs or pain killers, which only temporarily reduce a symptom of chronic arthritis, DMARDs actually prevent the progression of the disease, improving prognosis for patients. Unfortunately, DMARDs are associated with an increased risk of severe side-effects, and are not as well tested as more familiar painkillers. Popular DMARD brands include Rheumatrex, Plaquenil, and Arava.
A radical, new form of treatment consists of injecting a substance called hyaluronic acidinto patients’ affected joints. As opposed to pills, which chemically alter the body’s response to chronic inflammation, hyaluronic acid acts as a physical lubricant for affected joints, not unlike greasing a squeaky hinge. Patients who have chronic arthritis typically lack this natural lubricant, and feel much better once typical levels are restored through these specialized injections. Though viscosupplementation is still a relatively new treatment option, a few name brands exist: Euflexxa, Hyalgan, and Supartz are popular.
Fortunately, those who suffer from acute arthritis have a few, reliable treatment options. Furthermore, with increasingly advanced medical research, these options will likely be improved in the modern era. Thanks to these medications, chronic pain does not exert the same negative effect on a patient’s quality of life.