Treating Arthritis Pain

Just a little information about treating arthritis pain from Divine Providence Home Health…………

Arthritis pain affects more than 4 million seniors.  Currently, there are 171 different forms of arthritis. Today, I will deliberate on the three most common forms.  In a nutshell, Arthritis is a joint disorder that inflicts inflammation on one or more joints causing symptoms of pain and stiffness that can be very bothersome to the elderly, depending on the severity and form.

Osteoarthritis: (OA) Also known as Degenerative Joint Disease is a group of involuntary malformations triggering the ruining of joints.  The most common symptoms include: joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking of joints, and efussion (increased fluid normally around the knee).  Hereditary, developmental, and metabolic shortfalls are all thought to be contributors of the debilitating disease.  After years of wear and tear, the cartilage over the joint weakens and the bone may become exposed.  When this happens, the bone becomes damaged causing an even deeper level of pain and lack of movement, and at times, this can cause the elderly to become bedbound and completely dependent on home health services for the daily care of the patient.Treating Arthritis Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis: (RA) is an autoimmune disease (inappropriate arise of immune response in the body against substances and tissues) that results in prolonged and lingering systemic inflammatory disorder that attacks tissues and organs, but mainly attacks synovial (flexible) joints.  RA is a very painful and immobilizing disease which can lead to loss of function and control if left untreated.  Symptoms include: warm, tender, swollen joints, morning stiffness that may last for hours, nodules under the skin, fatigue, fever, and unexplained weight loss.

Psoriatic Arthritis: is an inflammatory form of arthritis developed by seniors who have chronic skin conditions such as Psoriasis.  Symptoms include: pain, swelling, and tenderness in the joints, red joints and warm to the touch, Dactylitis ( sausage-like swelling of fingers and toes,) severe pain in the feet, around the ankle and Achilles tendon, separation in the nail bed, and pain in the lower back above the tailbone.

Getting Diagnosed

A doctor makes a diagnosis of arthritis by taking a history symptoms, pain and daily activity. The doctor will most likely flex the joint gently to listen for a grinding sound that indicates cartilage has worn away in the arthritic joint. X-rays of affected joints often show bone damage or bone spurs that are typical of OA. MRI or magnetic resonance imaging shows other types of damage to ligaments and connective tissue.  Early diagnosis is essential in treatment of all forms of Arthritis.


* NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) a category of pain reliever that come in both prescription form and over-the-counter.  These are used to treat pain and inflammation symptoms. Prescription example: Celebrex.  Over-the counter example: Ibuprofen.

* Weight loss can make a difference in pain levels, when it comes to arthritic areas such as the knee and hip.  On average, for every pound of weight that is lost, four pounds of pressure is taken off the joints.  Following a balanced diet created by your home health Nutritionist can certainly be to the advantage of an individual suffering from arthritic pain.

* Exercise is important.  Remaining active helps keeps the joint flexible and can reduce pain, which in return, improves mobility.  Activities that are considered low impact are excellent exercises for the arthritis sufferer, such as swimming or water aerobics.  Stretching exercises as well as strength training also helps arthritic pain.  The home health physical therapist will provide an exercise regimen that will benefit the individual, while not overexerting the senior.


* Anodyne therapy (infrared therapy) used to treat pain and swelling by increasing circulation is a newer form of therapy, but has proven very successful.  Once Anodyne therapy is administered (a heating device to the affected area) on average, those that suffer from arthritic pain have experienced relief of pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms on the very first application of the therapy.  On average, twelve sessions is needed for the optimum relief.


Arthritis is a broad spectrum disease that inflicts pain and discomfort in the joints of the elderly.  Mercifully, there are treatments available that will assist in the relief of symptoms, such as pain, stiff joints, and inflammation.  It is crucial that all symptoms are reported to a physician.  Once treatment has begun, it is imperative for the home health nurse to keep a record of progress made.  Relief is available.

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