Tag Archives: arthritis pain

What about arthritis and surgery? Mayo Clinic

Since I suffer from arthritis in my hands daily, I hope I can be forgiven for being the slightest bit preoccupied with it. I was first diagnosed with it, about 15 years ago. At that time I was given an acrylic splint that I wore on my right hand. It partially immobilized the hand, but gave me a lot of functionality as my hand was stronger as a result. Living with pain is an ongoing and developing experience. I am not sure what will be next.

The Mayo Clinic offered the following in the Special Report of its Health Letter:

“Sometimes, more conservative treatments such as medications and physical therapy aren’t enough to relieve your arthritis signs and symptoms. In these cases, a number of surgical procedures may be considered to relieve pain, slow or prevent cartilage damage or restore mobility and stability. Common surgical procedures include:

“* Arthroscopic debridement – A thin tube (arthroscope) is inserted into the joint area through a small incision to suction away loose fragments of bone, cartilage or synovial tissue that may be causing pain. This is particularly helpful in treating ‘mechanical’ symptoms of arthritis, such as catching or locking.

“* Synovectomy – Often done in rheumatoid arthritis, this involves surgically removing inflamed synovial tissue to reduce pain and swelling, and possibly delaying or preventing- joint destruction.

“* Joint fusion – Often done when joint replacement isn’t an option, permanently fusing a joint in the spine, wrist or ankle or foot can reduce pain and improve stability, although flexibility of that joint is lost.

“* Joint replacement – Hip, knee, elbow and shoulder joints – and less commonly some of the joints of the hands – can all be replaced by artificial joints made of various materials. Advances continue to be made in artificial joint durability and the overall success of these procedures. In some cases, less invasive procedures such as partial knee replacement or hip replacements using smaller incisions are helping reduce recovery time. Modified anesthesia techniques, aggressive post-operative rehabilitation and better postoperative pain management are also contributing to quicker recovery times.”

Anecdotally, my brother had a titanium knee put in several years ago and he was discharged from the hospital the same day. That blew my mind at the time and still does.

The report concludes, “You may not be able to make arthritis pain totally go away or do everything that you once could. But you can make the most of what you can do, which includes fully utilizing the medical therapies available to you, leading a joint-healthy lifestyle and maintaining a positive attitude.”

Tony

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Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise? – Harvard

I exercise regularly and I also suffer from severe arthritis of the hands, so the subjects of exercise and painkillers touch me where I live. Following is a very informative write up of painkillers in general and NSAIDs in particular by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

“Not long ago, I took ibuprofen after a dental procedure and was amazed at how well it worked. Millions of people have had similar experiences with ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) when used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache. That’s why NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide.”

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Coincidentally, I stumbled across NSAIDs by accident. You can read about it in my post – What about a bubble on my elbow?

“More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.

NSAIDs are fairly safe, but not risk free

“The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good, especially when taken in small doses for short periods of time. That’s why several of them, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are available in low doses over the counter in this country and elsewhere. Continue reading

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Knee cracking, popping could be early sign of osteoarthritis

As a long time arthritis sufferer, I have it in both hands, I am acutely aware of arthritis pain while trying to grip. I also know that arthritis can strike other joints with equal severity. Knowing the early signs may be helpful in clearing up bad health habits.

While snap, crackle and pop might be good sounds for your cereal, they may not be good noises in your knees. A new study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine published today in Arthritis Care & Research says these might be early predictors of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

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“Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee joint,” said Dr. Grace Lo, assistant professor of medicine in the section of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor. “We wanted to see if complaints about popping or snapping in the knee joint, also known as crepitus, were predictive of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, which is a combination of a frequent history of pain as well as radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis.” Continue reading

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Is it Okay to Exercise if you Suffer from Arthritis?

Because arthritis sufferers experience pain when they move, many conclude that not moving is healthier because it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that is one instance where listening to your body is not the best course of action. I hope the following information will alter that conclusion.

First, some startling statistics on arthritis from Ashley Boynes.

Some 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 22 per cent of the population, more than 1-in-5 adults!

Arthritis costs the US economy $128 BILLION per year.

Sad statistic – 31 per cent of US 18-64 year olds with arthritis either can’t work, or report work limitations.

Arthritis is the number one MOST COMMON disability.

Some 32 percent of veterans surveyed in 36 States had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared with 22 percent of non-veterans, representing a 50 per cent increased risk for arthritis for veterans.

More than 1,000,000 joints will be replaced this year alone.

To answer the question about suitability of exercising with arthritis, I recently attended a Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions presentation on Arthritis and Exercise.
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12 +1 Rewards of Exercise

WebMD is offering a nice slide show with what they call the top 12 rewards of exercise.

I called this post 12 +1 Rewards because I have included my own observation adding one  reward from working out that WebMD didn’t mention.

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They list Better Mood pointing out that exercise releases endorphins – the feel good’ chemicals in the brain.

Next is More Energy, noting that “when you exercise regularly that fatigue goes away and you find yourself with a lot more pep.” Continue reading

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6 ways to use your mind to control pain – Harvard

In an effort to keep as many foreign substances outside of my circulatory system, I take as few drugs as possible. Since I suffer from arthritis of the hands, I have to resist the temptation to get into painkillers daily. I fear the side effects more than my hands hurting.

The Harvard Health Publications offer  a number of techniques, some of them age old, that may reduce one’s need for pain medication.

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No respecter of age, arthritis pain can strike in numerous places.

The following techniques can help you take your mind off the pain and may help to override established pain signals.

1. Deep breathing. It’s central to all the techniques, so deep breathing is the one to learn first. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and exhale. To help you focus, you can use a word or phrase to guide you. For example, you may want to breathe in “peace” and breathe out “tension.” There are also several apps for smartphones and tablets that use sound and images to help you maintain breathing rhythms. Continue reading

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What About Emu Oil?

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I stumbled across this strange substance while in the dog park. Despite the expression, “What happens in the dog park stays in the dog park,” I am going to share my experience  with you.

There was a Doberman that had the most beautiful coat I had ever seen on a dog. This dog’s coat epitomized the word lustrous. The Dobe just stood out from the other canines. I asked the owner what she used to produce such a gorgeous coat. She said that she rubbed it with emu oil.

Not recognizing the word, I asked her to spell it. E-M-U. Okay, when I got home I went to work on the computer and learned from the Maple Springs Website: “Emu oil comes from the rendered and refined fat of the emu bird. The emu is similar to an ostrich, a member of the ratite family. Most of…

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Some Common Painkillers are Dangerous – Study

As I mentioned a couple of days ago when posting on cold-brewed coffee, I drink decaf because I don’t like any kind of drugs in my system. Regular readers know that I suffer from severe arthritis in both hands. I took Naproxen Sodium once for something else, but found that it eased my arthritis pain. My doctor and I agreed that the Naproxen Sodium (an NSAID – see below) was too strong for me to take on a regular basis because of possible liver and other damage. All of that preamble is to put into some perspective this latest information on common painkillers – NSAIDs.aspirin-nsaid-allergy-chicago-rotskoff

FACTS about arthritis medicine (NSAID):
NSAIDs is an abbreviation for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and is used to treat a wide range of diseases, in particular disorders in the muscular and bone system, where the drug counteracts swelling, pain and limitations in movement associated with inflammation.
• NSAIDs are not antibiotics and therefore do not help to fight infections caused by bacteria.
• NSAIDs are in Denmark sold both in low doses (Ibuprofen 200 mg/tablet) without a prescription and in higher doses and other types with a prescription.

Many Danes are prescribed NSAIDs for the treatment of painful conditions, fever and inflammation. But the treatment also comes with side effects, including the risk of ulcers and increased blood pressure. A major new study now gathers all research in the area. This shows that arthritis medicine is particularly dangerous for heart patients, and also that older types of arthritis medicine, which have not previously been in focus, also appear to be dangerous for the heart.

“It’s been well-known for a number of years that newer types of NSAIDs – what are known as COX-2 inhibitors, increase the risk of heart attacks. For this reason, a number of these newer types of NSAIDs have been taken off the market again. We can now see that some of the older NSAID types, particularly Diclofenac, are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack and apparently to the same extent as several of the types that were taken off the market,” says Morten Schmidt, MD and PhD from Aarhus University, who is in charge of the research project.

He adds:”This is worrying, because these older types of medicine are frequently used throughout the western world and in many countries available without prescription.” Continue reading

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What About Gin-Soaked Raisins for Arthritis?

Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from pain in their joints, often a result of arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation says there are more than 100 types of arthritis.

I am a sufferer, afflicted with osteoarthritis. It rests in the base of my thumbs and impairs the use of my hands. Buttoning and unbuttoning, turning a key in a lock are immediate sources of stabbing pains in my palms.

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A long time friend of mine told me about the raisin cure. We played in the Pony League together when we were 13 and 14 years old. We are now in our 70’s and both suffer from arthritis. Continue reading

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Some Supplements to Ease Arthritis Pain – WebMD

Regular readers know that I have suffered from severe arthritis in both of my hands. I have tried a number of remedies to ease the pain over the years. Some help to a greater or lesser extent. You can type arthritis into the search box at the right and explore a number of them.

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Here is what WebMD suggests:

Arthritis Pain
“If you have any type of arthritis, you should keep up with the treatments your doctor recommends. If you want to add a supplement, you might consider:

“SAM-e. This is a man-made version of a chemical that your body makes. Early research suggests it may relieve arthritis symptoms as well as some medications do. You can take it in capsule form, 600-1,200 milligrams per day, divided into three doses. SAM-e is also what is called ‘poor man’s prozac.’ You can take it to mellow out if you are stressed. However, I have some much more salubrious suggestions for handling stress in the blog. Search either s t r e s s or relaxation to read them.

“Glucosamine/chondroitin. If your osteoarthritis is moderate or severe, glucosamine and chondroitin may help with pain. But the research is mixed. So ask your doctor if it’s OK for you and, if so, what dosage you should take.

“Boswellia. Studies suggest this tree resin can reduce osteoarthritis pain. It may also help with rheumatoid arthritis. You can take boswellia as a capsule or tablet, up to 900 milligrams per day.

“Capsaicin. Capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their fiery kick, may temporarily ease arthritis pain. It comes in a skin cream, gel, or patch. Apply it three times a day, but stop using it if it irritates your skin.

“Other natural aids. Avocado-soybean oil blend, cat’s claw, fish oil, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and ginger may also help with arthritis pain.”

Although WebMD didn’t mention it, I use mustard seed oil that I bought from Amazon. Just rub it on the afflicted joint liberally. It is also good for reducing swelling.

One last suggestion from me: the holy grail as far as I am concerned is exercise. A doctor suggested I take up knitting for my hand arthritis. I have had friends in similar circumstances who got the same advice. Those Chinese exercise balls work well, too. You need to  use the whole hand to roll them around. The old adage use it or lose it operates here. You need movement in the affected joint for mobility and lubrication.

Good luck!

Tony

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What are Some Good Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar? – Infographic

Apple cider vinegar is one of those foods that “a little goes a long way.” If you want to include it in your diet, a simple way is to mix a tablespoon of it with a tablespoon of honey and add to water or drink like that.

Mr. Lazy Cook includes an ounce in his daily morning smoothie.

Last, but not least, apple cider vinegar helps to suppress appetite and can assist in weight loss.

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Tony

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Four Ways Exercise Helps With Arthritis – Harvard

I have suffered from arthritis in my hands for over 20 years and gone through a number of methods of dealing with the pain. I wrote about all of them just yesterday. You can read How do I get relief from arthritis in my hands for the details.

So, I naturally was excited to see that the Harvard HEALTHbeat had just published a piece on exercise helping arthritis. First of all because arthritis pain can be brutal and secondly because eat less; move more is my mantra.

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“Even the healthiest people can find it hard to stick with an exercise regimen — and if you suffer from the joint pain of arthritis, moving your body may be the last thing you want to think about. But regular exercise not only helps maintain joint function, but also relieves stiffness and reduces pain and fatigue.

If you have arthritis, you want to be sure your exercise routine has these goals in mind:

1. A better range of motion (improved joint mobility and flexibility). To increase your range of motion, move a joint as far as it can go and then try to push a little farther. These exercises can be done any time, even when your joints are painful or swollen, as long as you do them gently. Continue reading

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How Do I Get Relief from Arthritis in my Hands?

For more than 20 years I have suffered from arthritis of the hands. Because I am a journalist, I thought I had carpal tunnel syndrome for much of that time. However, I fell off my bike and broke a bone in my wrist when I was in my 50’s and the doctor, looking at my X-rays, said I had arthritis not CTS. Turns out about half the people in the country suffer from arthritis.

If you aren’t clear on arthritis check out my Page What you should know about arthritis. I have written more than a dozen posts on the subject. For the record, I am talking about osteoarthritis, the most common version, not rheumatoid arthritis. Mine is at the base of each thumb, so I have pain using my hands to button, unbutton, turn a key, etc. Just about anything I use my hands for. Yes, that includes typing this.

The acrylic cast build by the Hand Clinic

The acrylic splint build by the Hand Clinic

When I started doctoring, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Hand Clinic built me an acrylic splint which I wore for several years. I stopped when I discovered trace minerals. You can read my post on that at the link.

I stumbled upon Naproxin Sodium 200 mg capsules a couple of years ago when I got Popeye Elbow and a doctor prescribed it to reduce the swelling. Turned out the Naproxin also relieved the pain in my hands, too.

The compression gloves I wear now

The compression gloves I wear now

When I discussed it with my internist, though, she said that there were some really dangerous side effects to regular use of Naproxin which is an NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug). So, she prescribed Pennsaid which is also an NSAID ointment. Since you rub it on instead of swallowing it, there is significantly less damage to your system that the ones you swallow.

I didn’t get much relief from Pennsaid and I also didn’t like sitting around for periods with both my hands covered with this drug. So I quit using it.

I picked up some Acetomenaphin (Tylenol) at Costco and started taking two 500 MG tablets every morning after that. I did that for a couple of years, but the pain relief benefits seemed to be tailing off and I didn’t want to up the dose. Continue reading

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What About Emu Oil?

I stumbled across this strange substance while in the dog park. Despite the expression, “What happens in the dog park stays in the dog park,” I am going to share my experience  with you.

There was a Doberman that had the most beautiful coat I had ever seen on a dog. This dog’s coat epitomized the word lustrous. The Dobe just stood out from the other canines. I asked the owner what she used to produce such a gorgeous coat. She said that she rubbed it with emu oil.

Not recognizing the word, I asked her to spell it. E-M-U. Okay, when I got home I went to work on the computer and learned from the Maple Springs Website: “Emu oil comes from the rendered and refined fat of the emu bird. The emu is similar to an ostrich, a member of the ratite family. Most of the birds are raised in the U.S. by emu farmers, and then sent to be rendered and refined. This type of farming is similar to cattle farming. One of the things we know about the emu is that they have wonderful immune systems. The emu can be close to death from injury and in a few days be good as new. It is this wonderful healing properties that they pass along through the emu oil. This is why the emu oil is good for so many things.”

The University of Texas medical school said that their tests indicated that emu oil was very good for the skin and is a “non pore clogging substance, helping the keep the skin healthy.”

The Properties of emu oil included it being a good source of Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. When applied directly to the skin it will penetrate and deliver the health benefits of these essential fatty acids.

According to WebMD, “Some people apply emu oil to the skin for relief from sore muscles, aching joints, pain or inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, shin splints, and gout. It is also used topically to improve healing of wounds, cuts, and burns from radiation therapy; to reduce bruises and stretch marks; to reduce scarring and keloids; to heal surgical wounds caused by removing skin for skin grafts; to reduce redness due to acne; and to soften dry cuticles and promote healthy nails. Emu oil is also used topically athlete’s foot; diaper rash; canker sores; chapped lips; poor circulation; and skin conditions, including cancer, dry skin, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles or age spots. It is also used to protect skin from sun damage and to promote more youthful looking skin.
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