Arthritis, whatever the type, is a disease that causes pain, discomfort, swelling, interference of motion, and even depression. Today, the treatment for arthritis involves a combination of different therapies that is usually personalized to the individual. An elderly osteoarthritis patient will have a different treatment from a young patient with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. A person experiencing mild wrist pain will have a different treatment from someone with severe hip arthritis. Doctors now can offer several options to their patients and let them choose the most comfortable therapy with the goal of reducing pain and swelling, and stopping further damage while improving joint function.
Medical science can offer the arthritis patient medication and/or non medication therapy. Usually, the first step is to relieve pain. With mild arthritis, analgesics or pain relievers are prescribed. Analgesics can be further divided into narcotic and non-narcotic. They basically work by blocking pain signals before they reach the brain or they interfere with how the brain interprets the signals. Acetaminophen is an example of an over-the-counter non-narcotic analgesic, while morphine is a narcotic analgesic. However, the proper treatment for arthritis should involve more than just relieving the pain in the joints.
Arthritis is usually accompanied by inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are medications used to treat arthritis by reducing the inflammation and thereby resulting in pain relief. NSAIDs work by interfering with the activity of the cyclo oxygenase (COX) enzyme. Examples of NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen. Another type of NSAID is the COX-2 inhibitory like Celebrex. COX enzymes have several functions aside from causing inflammation. They also help maintain healthy stomach mucous lining and aids in blood clotting. Aspirin and ibuprofen relieves inflammation, but can also cause stomach upset, ulcers, and bleeding. COX-2 inhibitors target only the inflammation process using a different pathway, but drugs like Vioxx and Bextra have been withdrawn by their manufacturers from the market because of an increased risk of heart attack as seen in clinical trials.
It seems that the present available medication as a treatment for arthritis also carries a significant risk. Analgesics do not address inflammation, and narcotics can cause drug dependency. NSAIDs reduce inflammation but affect other normal processes, and can even introduce other serious medical conditions. Steroids, whether given orally or injected, can only be given for a short period, because prolonged use can result in many serious side effects. Newer drugs show promise, but long-term side effects are still unknown. Surgery is usually the last resort, and it does not guarantee 100 percent resolution.
Alternative therapies exist, and some patients report good results. For example, New Zealand green lipped mussel extract as a supplement is gaining more interests because of successful initial trials. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can effectively reduce inflammation and pain without side effects commonly experienced from taking NSAID. It also has mucopolysaccharides that can repair and replace damaged cartilage that brings back mobility to the joints. Indeed, it is now considered a natural alternative treatment for arthritis. And the best part in taking New Zealand mussel capsules is that the only side effect is better overall health. Look for products that use the patented En’Zaq Process to ensure maximum potency.