Chronic pain from arthritis is a major health problem in the United States today. In fact, pain is the most weakening effect of the arthritis and more than 40 million Americans suffer some form every single day.
Because there are over 100 different forms of arthritis or arthritis conditions it is incredibly important that the individual receives the correct diagnoses in order to ensure the best possible treatment protocols. Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form and affects approximately 16 million people, while rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 2.1 million Americans.
Although the chronic pain which results from an arthritic condition is one of the most weakening effects and can be disabling researchers have found very good treatment protocols that can significantly impact the progression of the disease and decrease the pain that the individual sufferers.
Doctors and patients have a goal to minimize the risks of the disease, relieve the pain and stop the progression while at the same time preventing disability. How all of these goals are achieved will be different with each different diagnoses of arthritis. However, there are some common do’s and don’ts of treatment for all individuals who suffer from an arthritis condition.
Treatment protocols for all conditions will usually include weight management, medication, diet, rest, exercise, joint protection and lifestyle changes. Decisions about the types of treatment protocols used will be made based on the type of arthritis, the advancement of the disease for that particular individual, the response to any previous therapy and the willingness of the individual to complete the current therapy. Physicians and therapists will also take into account the individual’s reactions and possible side effects of any therapy which is prescribed.
When the physician considers treatment protocols they will also evaluate other conditions and medical illnesses that the individual may suffer. People do not live in a vacuum and often have more than one medical condition. This requires that the doctor and the pharmacists work closely together to integrate all other medications and therapies in order to avoid problems with drug interactions and side effects which can become dangerous and life-threatening.
The physician will also consider patient preferences when developing a treatment plan. If the individual doesn’t agree with the proposed plan they are likely not to follow it. The doctor will not recommend the same plan for a 36-year-old executive who may not be able to accommodate the same regimen that a 60-year-old stay at home mom can.
It is important for individuals to recognize that the ultimate responsibility for they are care rests in their own hands. Doctors are responsible for giving patients the information they need to make a decision about their own treatment and guide them in that choice. However, all too often the patient wants to abdicate the decision-making and research to the physician. Unfortunately, while the physician may have moral and ethical responsibilities, they do not have a vested interest in getting the therapies exactly correct.
It is the responsibility of the individual to know all the medications and natural remedies that they are currently taking. They should have written down the names, dosages, times and why and how the medication is taken.
Individuals should also have a good knowledge of any potential side effects they should look for. Because most individuals see more than one doctor they should take all of this information when they go to each of their doctors appointments so that no new medication is added that may interact with anything the individual is already taking.
Here are some important medication tips to keep you safe:
*Always take the medication as directed. Dont change the dosage or timing on your own.
*Unless the label instructs you not to, always take medication with food. Food can be milk or any other protein such as peanut butter or cheese and crackers.
*Although the effects may not be felt immediately taking anti-inflammatory medications without food can cause irritability to the stomach lining.
*To avoid weight gain, while taking food with medication, try to schedule the medications at mealtime.
*Keep the medications in labeled containers. Without children in the home you can request bottles that are easier to open than the childproof containers.
*Always report side effects to your doctor such as nausea, vomiting, stomach, pain, fever or abdominal pain.
*Be honest with your doctor. If you have stopped taking medications let them know this information is necessary when they make decisions about potential treatment changes.
*Ask your doctor how long the medications need to work. Dont double up on medications but notify the doctor they arent working as expected.
*Dont take medication from a friend or relative since medication interactions with your meds can be highly dangerous. What works for one person can have life threatening consequences for another.
*Dont let your medications run out before reordering. Stopping medications abruptly can result in a flare of the disease.
Treatment options will vary with the different arthritic conditions that an individual may have put the goals will remain the same. Safety measures for any therapeutic interventions, whether they are medication, therapies or exercise programs, are important to follow in order to increase the success rate that an individual will experience and decreasing their pain, slowing the progression of the disease and preventing any disability.
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