Inflammation and Arthritis
How Are Inflammatory Joint Diseases Treated?
There are a number of treatment options for inflammatory joint diseases including medications, rest, exercise, and surgery to correct joint damage. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors including the type of disease, the person's age, type of medications he or she is taking, overall health, medical history, and severity of symptoms.
The goals of treatment are to:
- Avoid or modify activities that aggravate pain
- Relieve pain through pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Maintain joint movement and muscle strength through physical therapy and exercise
- Decrease stress on the joints by using braces, splints, or canes as needed
What Drugs Are Used to Treat Inflammatory Diseases?
There are many drugs available to decrease joint pain, swelling, and/or inflammation and hopefully prevent or minimize the progression of the inflammatory disease. These medications include:
- Anti-inflammatory pain reliever drugs (NSAIDs -- such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Celebrex).
- Corticosteroids (such as prednisone).
- Other medications* include chemotherapy drugs, disease modifying treatments, biologic therapy, or narcotic pain relievers.
*Some of these medications are traditionally used to treat other conditions such as cancer and inflammatory bowel disease or to prevent organ rejection after transplants. However, when "chemotherapy" types of medications are used to treat inflammatory diseases, the doses are significantly lower and the risks of side effects tend to be considerably less than when prescribed in higher doses for cancer.
When you are prescribed any drug, it is important to meet with your doctor regularly so he or she can check its effectiveness and detect the development of any side effects.