Living With Arthritis

If you’re one of the nearly 54 million adults living with some form of arthritis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. Luckily, there are ways to manage the pain, stiffness, and inflammation from arthritis and improve your quality of life. At the Orthopaedic Institute for Spinal Disorders in Houston, Jose E. Rodriguez-Cordova, MD, and his skilled team offer medication, joint injections, and physical therapy — and if needed, surgery — to lessen pain and increase mobility.

Medication

The medication we recommend would depend on the kind of arthritis you have. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage at the ends of bones wears down, causing pain and swelling. Another kind is rheumatoid arthritis, which is a condition in which your immune system attacks the lining of your joints.

For osteoarthritis, we may recommend:

Analgesics

Analgesics relieve pain without putting you to sleep or making you lose consciousness. They include over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), as well as prescription drugs, such as those that contain oxycodone (Percocet).

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), reduce inflammation and pain.

Corticosteroids

These drugs, such as prednisone and cortisone, reduce swelling in your joints.

Topical creams

These creams are made with ingredients, such as capsaicin, which interfere with your body’s pain signals.

For rheumatoid arthritis, we may recommend:

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

These drugs, such as methotrexate, halt your immune system from attacking your joints.

Biologic response modifiers

These drugs, such as Enbrel, stop your body’s autoimmune response.

Medications are usually the first line of defense against arthritis. They can also be used in conjunction with injections and physical therapy to manage symptoms.

Joint injections

Dr. Rodriguez-Cordova may inject corticosteroids and numbing agents, such as lidocaine, directly into the affected joints to temporarily relieve pain and inflammation. The injections can help you feel better so you can get physical therapy or exercise.

Another type of injection, called viscosupplementation, provides hyaluronic acid to the knee joint to help lubricate it and relieve pain and stiffness.

Physical therapy

We work with licensed physical therapists to provide exercises that can help you function better in everyday life. You may find it easier to get out of bed, open a kitchen cabinet, or walk up stairs after you learn how to move in ways that don’t put extra stress on your inflamed, sore joints.

Managing your arthritis is both an art and a science. We’ll work with you to find the best combination of medication and therapy for your body. If needed, Dr. Rodriguez-Cordova can also perform surgery. Dr. Rodriguez-Cordova is a board-certified surgeon who specializes in joint repair, replacement, and fusion. He’ll discuss if one of these surgical procedures can help you.

Don’t let arthritis stop you from living. Book an appointment online or over the phone with our joint experts at the Orthopaedic Institute for Spinal Disorders today.

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