Dealing with Arthritis from A to Z

Easing the Pain of Arthritis

Arthritis often develops in people as they age. It is common for those suffering from arthritis to seek out physicians with a specialty in the treatment and care of people with pain. These physicians, such as Harvey Finkelstein MD, are experts in the alleviation of the painful symptoms associated with arthritis.

Among the most prevalent symptoms associated with arthritis are inflammation of the joints, stiffness, and of course pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, out of more than 100 different kinds.  It is also sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease, and is caused by the simple “wear and tear” the joints are exposed to. It is logical then, for this kind of “wearing out” of the joints to manifest more as people become older.

What is happening is that the strong, rubber-like tissue known as cartilage, whose job it is is to cushion the bones where they meet at the joints. The specialized tissue allows the bones to slide over each other for smooth and painless movement. Over time the protective cartilage can break down and rub away, allowing the bones to rub together. This unprotected rubbing is the cause of the pain, stiffness and swelling people with arthritis suffer from.

Upon examination a pain specialist such as Harvey Finkelstein MD will first confirm that the pain in the joint is indeed caused by osteoarthritis and not one of the other types of joint diseases, which can sometimes be auto-immune in nature. Once the doctor is satisfied that his patient is suffering osteoarthritis he will decide the best course of action to take which will mitigate the pain arthritis sufferers experience.

Treatment can be as simple as over-the-counter pain meds such as acetaminophen, which is generally free of side-effects. If this does not relieve the pain, the doctor might recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS. These medications are useful because they not only help with the pain, but they can also reduce swelling. Aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are included in this category of drug.

Other treatments are also available if these prove to be less than adequate. Determination of dosage, type of drug and other specifics of treatment should always be left up to the physician to insure the best results and least side-effects.