Fibromyalgia – an example a central pain syndrome – is a chronic health condition characterized by symptoms of widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. As in many chronic diseases, fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go and vary in intensity. Continue reading Fibromyalgia Flares: Symptoms, Triggers and Treatment
Studies show nearly half of all patients don’t follow their doctor’s advice, so they fall short of their health goals.
“Almost everyone wants to feel better and do what they set out to,” says William McCann, director of behavioral science education at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. “But translating knowledge into action requires strategy.”
Continue reading Achieving Arthritis Treatment Goals
In a 2015 Gallup poll of more than 5,400 Americans, 60 percent believed chiropractic is an effective treatment for neck and back pain. It’s true that chiropractors manipulate, or adjust, the spine to improve pain and mobility, but the benefits may extend beyond the back. By using varying degrees of force in an effort to adjust misaligned joints, chiropractors try to improve the relationship between the spine and nervous system, which they believe may affect the function of all the organs and systems in the body.
Continue reading Chiropractic Care for Arthritis
One of several nondrug pain treatments for arthritis, acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body. The goal is to correct imbalances in the flow of life energy – called chi or qi – thereby stimulating healing. Traditional Chinese medicine describes more than 2,000 acupuncture points (acupoints) connected to 12 main energy channels.
In the West, acupuncture is mainly associated with pain relief, but the 3,000-year-old practice is a complex and comprehensive system of medicine that emphasizes healing the mind and spirit as well as the body.
Continue reading Acupuncture and Acupressure for Arthritis
If you are among the nearly one-third of people with arthritis who live with anxiety and depression, you know that your emotional well-being can have a profound impact on your physical health. When you are depressed you may not eat healthfully, exercise or take your medication regularly. New research shows that being sad for a prolonged period of time can also have a negative effect on bone health in both men and women.
Happy Life Leads to Healthy Bones in Women
A 2014 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that bone density was 52% higher in postmenopausal women who reported feeling satisfied with their lives when compared with those who said they were unsatisfied. Participants were asked to measure their overall well-being in four areas: interest in life, happiness in life, ease of living and feelings of loneliness.
Continue reading How Your Mood Can Affect Bone Health
Physicians who treat patients with arthritis and related conditions now have more help in selecting treatments, thanks to a growing library of new and updated clinical guidelines and recommendations.
When faced with both common and uncommon situations, unanswered questions or complicated cases, guidelines and recommendations can provide physicians with answers without the need to personally do exhaustive searches of the medical literature, says Michael Ward, MD, an investigator for the National Institutes of Health.
Guidelines are not meant to replace the judgment of a knowledgeable physician or the preferences of a patient, says Dr. Ward.
“The [American College of Rheumatology] makes the point that these are not requirements, but need to be judged in the context of each individual patient, because each individual patient is different, has a different medical history, has different comorbidities or different contraindications to particular treatments, and all of that needs to be factored in when deciding on any particular course of action,” says Dr. Ward, who was principal investigator for new recommendations for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis.
Continue reading New Arthritis Treatment Guidelines Available
Do you feel like you’re swallowing handfuls of pills every day? Do you not take them all or take them wrong because it’s hard to keep track? It’s a common problem for people living with chronic disease, like arthritis. And it’s even worse if you add other medications for other conditions, like heart disease or diabetes, to your arthritis meds regimen.
Rheumatologists offer these tips to make your daily arthritis pill routine easier to swallow.
Review your meds with your physician. Ask if you need everything you’re taking. Different doctors may have prescribed overlapping medications. Or you may find that a single combination pill can replace two separate drugs, or that you can take a lower dosage.
“Patients often assume that I remember each and every one of their medicines. We simply can’t do that,” explains Robert Katz, MD, a rheumatologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “So it really is good to ask the question, ‘Are there any of these medicines that I could discontinue or cut down on?’”
Continue reading Are You Taking Too Many Medications for Your Arthritis?
Anti-TNF drugs have improved the lives of countless people with inflammatory forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But when one of these medicines quits working, or you simply don’t respond to an anti-TNF drug, which drug might your doctor prescribe next? Physicians who have puzzled over these questions received some clues about how to treat the disease from the results of a new clinical trial presented at the 2015 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting.
Anti-TNF drugs, which belong to a class of medicines known as biologics, block the action of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein that promotes inflammation. Five anti-TNFs are currently on the market: adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria) and infliximab (Remicade). Since the first anti-TNF medicines became available in the late 1990s, newer biologics have been developed that don’t target TNF, but instead block the action of other inflammation-causing proteins.
Do people fare better after knee surgery with at-home exercise or clinic-based physical therapy (PT)? That is the question posed in a 2014 Australian study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. Researchers found that those patients who had total knee replacement and followed a structured, at-home exercise program did no worse – in terms of pain and range of motion – than those who participated in a standard clinic-based physical therapy program.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 knee replacement surgeries, also called total knee arthroplasty, are done every year. That number is expected to rise as the population ages and grows heavier.
Managing your arthritis along with other health conditions can be a lot to handle. People taking more than one drug are at increased risk of interactions, not to mention potential confusion about timing and dosage when taking over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Fortunately, getting the answers you need is as easy as stopping by your neighborhood pharmacy.
More than just dispensing meds, pharmacists can provide information about your disease; review your medications and advise you about them; and recommend drug types, dosages and scheduling for over-the-counter medicines. A 2010 study in the journal Medical Care found that patients are healthier when a pharmacist is an active part of their healthcare team.