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Arthritis Treatment Options

You can probably remember a time when stairs weren't your enemy and you could bound up them without any painful protest from your joints. Back then, you didn't have to give a second thought to whether you could open a jar or turn a doorknob. Then arthritis intervened, leaving your joints swollen, painful, and stubbornly unwilling to let you do even the simplest everyday tasks.

Regardless of whether you've developed osteoarthritis with age or you have rheumatoid arthritis or a painful case of gout, you don't have to let joint discomfort and stiffness prevent you from living. Your doctor has a whole range of medications and recommendations to relieve your pain and protect your joints from further damage.

Here is a rundown of the top arthritis treatment options.

Simple Ways to Protect Your Joints

Arthritis relief doesn't always have to come from a bottle. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and using special devices to help you get around can also have a big impact on your symptoms.

Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can help take pressure off your joints. 

People with gout should avoid alcohol and foods that are high in purines, and that includes organ meats (liver, kidney), dried beans, sardines, anchovies, asparagus, and mushrooms. When the body breaks down purines, it produces uric acid, and excess uric acid causes painful crystals to deposit in the joints. Making these changes may reduce flare ups, but they almost never cure the condition

Relieving Stiff Joints With Exercise

When you're in pain, the last thing you may want to do is exercise, but it's actually one of the best things you can do for your joints. Aerobic, strength-training, and stretching exercises can all be helpful. Work with your doctor to learn what exercises are safe for you to do. Physical therapy is also a common part of treatment in people with OA. Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Medications

Pain Relievers

You're probably familiar with a group of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs interfere with chemicals called prostaglandins in the body, which trigger pain, inflammation, and fever. Some NSAIDs are available over-the-counter for relief of pain and fever at your local drugstore, including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. There are also many other prescription NSAIDs available such as celecoxib (Celebrex), ketoprofen (Orudis), naproxen (Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), and sulindac (Clinoril); you'll need a prescription from your doctor. Prescription doses of NSAIDs also curb inflammation.

NSAIDs can be very helpful for relieving pain and swelling in all types of arthritis, including gout. Just be careful when you use these drugs, because they can have side effects such as stomach bleeding and an increased risk for heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Read the package label and talk to your doctor to make sure you're using the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible period of time.

WebMD Medical Reference

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