Tips to Alleviate Arthritis in the Hips and Other Joints

by Elizabeth Carrollton
(www.Drugwatch.com)

The inflammation and joint pain that come with arthritis can make day-to-day activities a lot harder than they need to be, especially when the condition affects weight-bearing joints like the knee or hip. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of the disorder to affect these joints, causing gradual knee or hip injury and deterioration that can lead to joint replacement. However, many treatments and therapies are available to alleviate arthritis symptoms, easing discomfort and slowing the progression of this degenerative joint disorder.


Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often effective in reducing arthritis pain and inflammation, improving range of motion and increasing mobility. Therapists typically guide clients through exercise and stretching techniques to enhance strength and flexibility in the muscles that support the hip or knee. Strong supporting muscles can improve joint function, alignment and stability, factors that can reduce daily symptoms, decrease risk of knee or hip injury and slow joint degeneration.

Medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, available in over-the-counter and prescription forms, can help control arthritis symptoms. Common NSAIDS include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. Topical pain reliving ointments can also ease discomfort, as can natural joint supplements, such as glucosamine, chondroitin and fish oil, which have anti-inflammatory effects. Prescription medications, such as cox-2 inhibitors, steroid medications, and anti-rheumatic drugs, are often used when topical and NSAID drugs fail to provide effective relief.

Hot and Cold Therapy

For painful arthritis flare-ups, treatment with heat or cold may offer relief. If exertion has caused stiffness, aching or muscle spasms, applying heat with a hot pack, heating pad or a warm bath can relax the muscles and ease the pain. If joint inflammation and sharp pain are the problems at hand, applying ice to the affected joint to reduce swelling and numb the area can help. Heat or cold should only be used in intervals of no more than 20 minutes to avoid skin damage and heat or ice packs should not be placed directly against the skin.

Joint Replacement

For arthritis sufferers who have significant knee or hip injury due to joint deterioration, joint replacement can restore mobility and quality of life. However, this is an option that requires careful consideration, since there are risks involved in all surgeries.
If hip replacement will be done, there are some important things to know about implants in order to reduce your risk of complications. Metal on metal hip replacement systems have been the source of trouble lately, with several of these products recalled over design defects, high failure rates and serious complications.

Particles of metallic implant debris caused metallosis in many patients. Metallosis happens when that implant debris collects in the soft tissue around the joint, causing pain and inflammation, and in some cases, tissue death, bone loss and implant loosening or failure. Revision surgeries were necessary in many patients to resolve these issues, leading some patients to file a hip replacement lawsuit against implant manufacturers.

A number of implant options are available besides these metal-on-metal designs that have been so troublesome. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of all hip implants with your surgeon to ensure that the safest option is chosen for your procedure.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

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