Whether it’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an ultrasound or a good old-fashioned X-ray, your doctor is likely to order some type of medical imaging to see what’s going on below the surface with your arthritis.
“The most important thing rheumatologists can do to assess patients is still a good history and clinical exam. The role of imaging is to assist in assessing the degree of severity,” says Orrin Troum, MD, professor of medicine at University of Southern California and spokesperson for the International Society for Musculoskeletal Imaging in Rheumatology. Understanding its severity helps a doctor decide how aggressively to treat the disease.
Continue reading Medical Imaging for Arthritis Diagnosis
Biologics have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid, psoriatic and other inflammatory types of arthritis for almost two decades, but plenty of misconceptions about them remain. Rheumatologist Eric Matteson, MD, helps separate fact from fiction.
Continue reading Five Things You Should Know About Biologics
Rather than rely completely on conventional Western medications, some people with arthritis also look to herbal products – and the expertise of an herbalist — to provide natural relief for their symptoms.
Continue reading Should You See an Herbalist for Arthritis?
Exercise can be a powerful balm for many of the things that ail us, including depression, bone loss, fatigue, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. But if a goal of exercise is to lose weight, you’ll increase your chances of success by changing your diet.
Continue reading Exercise Plus Diet Equals Weight Loss
Pain and aging—it’s an unfortunate fact of life. As we increase in age, so does our risk for painful health conditions. Research also suggests the experience of pain changes as we age; the treatments for it must often change as well.
More Painful Problems
“As we get older we are more likely to experience pain because of the kinds of health problems that go with getting older,” says Patricia A. Parmelee, PhD, director of the Alabama Research Institute on Aging at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. “There are a number of disorders linked with the aging body that are painful,” she says. Of these, one of the most common is osteoarthritis (OA).
The likelihood of developing arthritis increases with age. The CDC reports that 7% of people between the ages of 18 and 44 say they have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Among people 65 and older, that number is 50%.
Continue reading Aging and Arthritis Pain: Should Treatment Plans Change as We Age?
Treating fibromyalgia with both pregabalin (Lyrica) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) is more effective that using either drug alone, according to a new study out of Canada.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic health condition characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems, sleep disturbance and mood changes. If non-drug treatments such as exercise and avoiding triggers (which can include physical and psychological stress) don’t provide enough relief, medication may be prescribed. Common choices in the United States include pregabalin, duloxetine and milnacipran (Savella).
Continue reading Combining Meds for Fibromyalgia May Offer Added Benefits
Researchers agree – meditation can help with a host of health problems. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares,” says David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. His studies, as well as others, found that patients who meditated responded to stress with lower heart rates and improved immune function; and that meditation, in combination with traditional medicines, appears to help patients with chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. And in a study published in the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s scientific journal in April 2015, 43 patients who used a mindfulness meditation program as part of their pain management experienced lower general anxiety and depression, better mental quality of life (psychological well-being), a greater feeling of control of the pain, and higher pain acceptance.
Continue reading Easy Meditation Options for Pain
Arthritis is much more than a disease plaguing the elderly – it’s the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S. and impacts more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children. It’s smart to learn about this common but painful disease. Do you think you know about arthritis? Test yourself with these arthritis myths and learn the facts.
Continue reading Debunking Common Myths About Arthritis
Scientists evaluated clinical studies on 21 complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to determine if they help the pain and disability associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), fibromyalgia and low back pain. Other forms of arthritis and related diseases were not included in the analysis. Of the therapies included in the studies, they rated acupuncture, massage, yoga and tai chi most effective.
These findings don’t mean that other CAM therapies – defined by this report as any therapy that exists outside normal health care practices – aren’t effective. The researchers stress that, in many cases, there just weren’t enough high-quality data to fully evaluate the therapies. “Where there is no or little evidence, it is very difficult to judge,” says lead author of the report, Gareth Jones, PhD, a senior lecturer in epidemiology in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Continue reading Research Shows Which Alternative Therapies Can Ease Arthritis Pain
Health care in the United States can often feel proscriptive, narrow and impersonal, with a focus on the doctor, not the patient. Integrative medicine aims to be different, and may be a good option for your arthritis treatment.
Continue reading Integrative Medicine for Arthritis Treatment