Joint Pain Treatments

Joint Pain Treatments Joint pain is pain related to injury or inflammation of the joints. Our joints may become painful due to direct trauma to the joint tissues, complications of medical treatments, disease conditions, or wear and tear. The specific joint pain treatments that are prescribe to provide patients with pain relief will be related to the specific joints that are injured and the specific cause of the condition. Let's take a look at some treatments for some specific causes of joint pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common joint pain conditions that are caused by an autoimmune disease. There are several types of autoimmune diseases in which the body's immune system changes to no longer recognize our own joint tissues as familiar and healthy. Instead, our body's immune system begins to misidentify joint tissue as unfamiliar, and it begins attacking it. With these types of autoimmune diseases, there are periods of remission that alternate with periods of increased immune activity to attack the affected joint tissues. With rheumatoid arthritis, the joint tissues that are affected most commonly are the synovium (the capsule around joints). The inflammatory response of the body causes a swelling of the synovial cells and the development of fibrous tissue in the synovium. These inflammatory responses cause the deterioration of articular cartilage and fusion (ankylosis) of the joints. When this diseases progresses to the point of joint fusion, then severe disability will take place, often requiring joint replacement surgery in order for patients to re-acquire some amount of function in that body part. Rheumatoid arthritis may also cause significant damage to other tissues and organs, such as the whites of the eyes (sclera), membranes of the lungs (pleura), and membranes of the lungs (pleura) and heart (pericardium). This condition is labeled as a systemic autoimmune disease.

Like many other systemic autoimmune diseases, there appears to be a strong genetic link to this condition. This condition does run in families. People whose genetic profile who are positive for the genes HLA-DR4 and HLA-DR1 are more likely to develop symptoms of this disease. What isn't completely known is what actually triggers the onset of symptoms related to this genetic predisposition.

Like other autoimmune diseases, treatments for this condition include a combination of pharmacological treatments along with physical therapy to control outbreaks of inflammation as well as specific exercises to prevent the fusions of the affected joints. Physical therapy and occupational therapy may be beneficial in order to maintain flexibility in the joints affected by the outbreaks of the disease. Patients must also take pharmacological medications to minimize the immune system response of the body when outbreaks do occur. Other medications will minimize inflammation of joints when outbreaks do occur. Untreated, severe destruction of the synovial joints may occur that eventually lead to a permanent damage of the joints.

Medications that are used to minimize the effects of rheumatoid arthritis include:

Analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents: Analgesics are medications and other products that provide some level of pain relief. Medications that provide analgesic benefits for rheumatoid arthritis include topical lidocaine, diproqualone, opiates, and paracetamol (acetaminophen). Anti-inflammatory drugs include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glococorticoids. Cortisone therapies - including cortisone injections - regularly have short term benefits at controlling pain and inflammation - though there are concerns about the negative long-term effects of repeat treatments using these agents.

Biological agents: When the inflammatory response of the body is activated, the response of the body is the production of chemical agents that destroy tissue. Certain medications are designed to inhibit the proliferation of these chemical agents that would be used to hurt the joints. Medications that inhibit the production of certain inflammatory agents include:
  • RoActemmra, Actemra, and tocilizumab - inhibit the action of interleukin 6 (IL6)
  • Abatacept (Orencia) - these medications are T cell costimulation blockers
  • Rituximab (Rituxan) - these medications are monoclonal antibodies against B Cells
  • Anakinra (Kineret) - these meds are of interleukin 1 (IL1) blockers
  • Golimumab (Simponi), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel) - these medications are Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNFa) blockers
Natural therapies: There is some support for the claim that certain natural anti-inflammatories are effective at controlling inflammation related to this condition. Food and plant sources that have been found to contain natural anti-inflammatories that fight the effects of this disease include those that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Fisk oil products are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. Other non-animal sources that are high in Omega-3 include legumes, flaxseed, chia seeds, radish seeds, butternuts, walnuts, and basil. Most medical studies that claim the benefits of omaga-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids contained fish or fish oil products only. More research must be conducted to analyze whether the omega-3 acids from plant and plant oil products provide the same types of benefits.

Surgery: An open synovectomy may be done in the early stages of the disease to prevent the later stage damage that would have occurred. A synovectomy involves the removal of the inflamed synovial to prevent the rest of the affected joint from becoming degenerated.