Non-invasive treatment for joint pain
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Noninvasive non-drug pain management
There are a number of noninvasive non-drug pain management techniques available for treating joint pain. A few of the most widely used are the following:
•Exercise. Includes water therapy, aerobic routines, and many others. May involve active, passive, and resistive elements. Exercise is necessary for cardiovascular health as well as for bones and joints.
•Manual techniques—. Manipulation of affected areas by means of chiropractic adjustments, osteopathy, massage therapy and other techniques.
•Behavioral modification. Sometimes used to help patients cope with joint pain. Cognitive therapy involves teaching the patient to alleviate pain by means of relaxation techniques and other methods. Biofeedback involves the gradual alteration of neuromuscular signals for symptomatic improvement.
•Cutaneous stimulation. These pain management methods include cold packs and hot packs. They can be used in conjunction with exercise. Cold and heat are used for different situations, more specifically, cold is used for acute flares of RA while heat is used during chronic stages. Applications of heat are recommended for 10-20 minutes once or twice a day. Caution is necessary in all patients due to burn risk. Cold application is preferred osteoarthritis.
•Hydrotherapy is also known as balneotherapy or spa therapy. Balneotherapy has long been used in Europe. It has not been emphasized so much in the U.S. In recent years, balneotherapy has served as a treatment for degenerative diseases. Objectives of balneotherapy are to increase the patient's range of motion, to strengthen muscles, to relieve painful muscle spasms, and to improve the patient's well-being.
•Electrotherapy. The most commonly known form of electrotherapy is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS therapy reduces pain usingh a low-voltage electric stimulation that interacts with sensory nerves.
Noninvasive pharmacologic pain management
The most common noninvasive pharmacologic treatments for chronic joint pain are:
• Analgesics—includes acetaminophen. Long-term use involves risk of liver and kidney damage.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs)—includes aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and others. These are available in both oral forms as well as topical (Voltaren gel, Pennsaid).
• Muscle relaxants—used to treat muscle spasms due to pain and protective mechanisms.
• Narcotic medications—most appropriate for acute or post-operative pain. Since use of narcotics entails risk of addiction, they are used judiciously for chronic conditions.
• Antidepressants and anticonvulsants—used to treat neuropathic (“nerve”) pain.
• GABA stimulators- Neurontin or Lyrica are oral medicines that often are very effective. They act on central GABA stimulators in the brain.
• Patches- Lidoderm patch is an anesthetic patch that is useful for superficial joint pain. Duragesic is a narcotic patch that delivers a low dose of fentanyl over a 3 day period. Butrans is a patch that delivers another buproprione for 7 days.
Get more information about non-invasive treatment for joint pain and related issues as well as...
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Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
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