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I have been diagnosed with having RA & OA, almost every joint of my body. Rhuem. has no idea if this is permanent. 2 meds later not working. lookin for hope.

By October 28, 2011 - 7:19am
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HERWriter Guide

Hi Libra5864

Thank you for your post and welcome to EmpowHER!

I'm sorry you are dealing with so much pain, it's sounds terribly difficult.

In terms of your OA, there is no treatment that stops cartilage loss or repairs cartilage that is damaged. The goal of treatment is to reduce joint pain and inflammation and to improve joint function.

Treatments may include:

Over-the-counter pain medication
Acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (eg, Advil) and naproxen (eg, Aleve)
Prescription Pain Relief Medication
Arthrotec —NSAID that may reduce the risk for gastrointestinal bleeding
Opiates and opiate-like medications
Viscosupplementation—injection of a substance called hyaluronan into the joint, which helps lubricate the joint
Pain relief creams— capsaicin , methyl salicylate, and menthol

Dietary Supplements

There is some evidence that glucosamine and chondroitin may relieve pain and/or decrease osteoarthritis progression. Talk with your doctor before taking any herbs and supplements.

Alternative Treatments
Some doctors report that acupuncture has been successful in reducing the pain of osteoarthritis, although the evidence is not consistent.

While more studies are needed, balneotherapy (hot water therapy), relaxation therapy , exercise , yoga , and tai chi may be helpful.

Mechanical Aids
Shoes with shock-absorbing soles may provide some relief while you are doing daily activities or exercising. Splints or braces help to properly align joints and distribute weight. Knee and wrist joints may benefit from elastic supports. A neck brace or corset may relieve back pain . Also, a firm mattress may help chronic back pain. Canes , crutches , walkers , and orthopedic shoes also can help those with advanced osteoarthritis in the lower body.

Weight Reduction
Losing weight can lessen the stress on joints affected by osteoarthritis. Losing five pounds can eliminate at least 15 pounds of stressful impact for each step taken. The more weight lost, the greater the benefit.

Exercise and Physical Therapy
Strengthening the muscles supporting an arthritic joint (particularly the knee, lower back, and neck) may decrease pain and absorb energy around the joint. For example, if you have arthritis in the knee, exercise, including strength training , can also help improve knee function.

Swimming and water aerobics are good options because they don't put stress on the joint.

Assist Devices
If you are having difficulty getting around due to arthritis pain, your doctor might recommend that you install handrails and grips throughout your home. These are useful in the bathroom and shower. You may need elevated seats (including toilet seats) if you're having difficulty rising after sitting.

Heat and Ice
Applying heat (with hot water bottles or heating pads) helps joints and muscles move more easily. It can also lessen pain. Using ice packs after activity can also help.

Corticosteroid injections to the inflamed joint may be given if other pain medicines do not work. Because repeated cortisone injections can be harmful to the cartilage, they are reserved for those with severe symptoms.

Surgery can:

Reposition bones to redistribute stress on the joint
Replace joints
Remove loose pieces of bone or cartilage from joints

Libra, you can read more here: http://www.empowher.com/condition/osteoarthritis and you will also find lots of articles that can help.

With regard to your RA, this is an auto immune condition that often needs lifetime treatment. What medications are you using? Bear in mind that you may need to tweak or even change your meds, based on your current health status.

Are you in any kind of physical therapy for your conditions?

You can read more on RA here: http://www.empowher.com/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis and you'll also find lots of articles and stories from other women who also have R.A.
For more support, join our R.A. Group here: http://www.empowher.com/groups/rheumatoid-arthritis

I hope this helps and please stay in touch!

October 28, 2011 - 1:02pm
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