Arthritis

Learn more about what Arthritis is and the different arthritis joint pain treatment options available

Alastair Clarkson Testimonial

Arthritis isn’t just one disease, but rather refers to more than 100 conditions that affect the joints of the body. Typically, when someone has arthritis their joints are inflamed, causing varying degrees of pain. It is estimated that arthritis affects nearly 4 million Australians. There are a variety of types of arthritis, however, the four most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Arthritis 1
Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/arthritis

Symptoms of arthritis:

Arthritis symptoms and severity can vary from person to person. The most common arthritis symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Redness, swelling, and warmth in a joint.
  • Muscular aches and pains.
  • Stiffness or reduced range of motion in a joint.
  • General symptoms of fatigue.
  • Weight loss, and feeling unwell.

Traditional pain relief for arthritis:

It’s worth noting that a range of different healthcare professionals can assist with an arthritis joint pain treatment plan. This can include your GP, a rheumatologist, physiotherapist, dietician, occupational therapist, exercise physiologist, podiatrist, pharmacist, and psychologist. Depending on which of the above you’re working with, some or all of the below traditional treatments offering pain relief for joints could be prescribed.

  • Medication for joint pain.
  • Creams and ointments.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (DMARDs).
  • Biologics and biosimilar medicines (bDMARDs).
  • Pain management techniques, such as meditation.

In addition to arthritis pain relief medication, lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms of arthritis include eating a healthy, balanced diet, and exercise.

Medicinal Cannabis and Arthritis

If you’ve exhausted other pain relief for arthritis treatment options and haven’t experienced any relief or improvement, it might be worth chatting to your doctor to see whether medicinal cannabis could be suitable for you.  

We spoke to Dr James Stewart, one of Australia’s leading minds in cannabis medicine who provided a medical view of arthritis and traditional treatments.

Dr Stewart is a true believer in focusing on overall health and always promotes a healthy lifestyle as the key. Click below to learn more about arthritis and treatments you may wish to discuss with your doctor.

Arthritis FAQs

What is the main cause of arthritis?

As there are so many forms of arthritis, there are some causes that are still not fully known today but may be treated with varying arthritis relief medication and other remedies.
The most common forms of arthritis are thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues in the joints — in some cases, this can be genetically inherited.
Joints become inflamed and cause varying degrees of pain that can be permanent or last for extended periods. Arthritis can also be caused by an infection called ‘reactive arthritis. This reactivity is very challenging to diagnose and can develop in any age group, most commonly in young people. Reactive arthritis can last anywhere between a few weeks to 6 months.
Some environmental factors may contribute to the condition, including:
●        Performing activities that require repetitive movements of a specific joint
●        Obesity — extra weight can put unwanted strain on muscles and joints
●        Pre-existing trauma or damage to a joint such as a sports injury
●        Smoking
●        Lack of physical activity

What does arthritis pain feel like?

As there are many different forms of arthritis, the pain can vary between each individual. The pain is caused by inflammation in the joints that damage these areas and exacerbates muscle tension. Arthritis pain can be worsened when stress and fatigue are present.
Arthritis pain has been described as a dull ache or burning sensation that starts in the joint and radiates into the muscles. Some individuals report their pain as more of a general stiffness or lack of flexibility in the morning. Depending on the activities performed, arthritis pain can vary dramatically. Natural remedies may help with pain relief for arthritis, osteoarthritis treatments or other types of arthritis medication are also effective when it comes to arthritis joint pain treatment for some individuals. 
Arthritis pain can also manifest in redness and swelling around a joint and can often leave an individual feeling sore and stiff in these joints. A normal range of movement may be hindered and depending on the exact type of arthritis, rashes, changes in body temperature and abnormalities with the eyes and throat may also occur.

What are the main symptoms of arthritis?

As there are so many different types of arthritis, symptoms in each individual will vary and so will effective forms of pain relief for arthritis. In some cases, arthritis symptoms are called rheumatism and as it isn’t a disorder in itself, it refers to the sort of muscle and joint pain that individuals can experience. Often, arthritic pain can start in the smaller joints like feet, hands and wrists and can impact both sides of the body simultaneously. The pain can start as quite minor and gradually worsen, sometimes becoming quite aggressive pain throughout the entire body.
The most common symptoms of arthritis can include:
●        Swelling in the joints
●        General pain
●        Warmth in the joint
●        Reduced movement or stiffness
●        Redness in the skin around the joint
 
Symptoms that may occur and are unrelated to joints can include:
●        Fatigue, fever and nausea
●        Weight loss
●        A general feeling of being unwell
 
There is no long-term arthritis cure, with health practitioners tending to suggest ongoing arthritis joint pain management and treatment options like medication for arthritis pain, or a range of natural remedies for arthritis that aim to alleviate severe pain and increase the quality of life.

What’s the best medication for joint pain?

When it comes to the best pain relief for arthritis, there are many options available and they can vary in efficacy. For many variations of this condition, arthritis pain relief medication can help prevent or slow damage to the joints and muscles and also help control symptoms. When severe cases of arthritis occur, sometimes the best medication for joint pain or treatment may be surgery to repair the damaged joints and muscles for longer-term pain management. The arthritis treatment used will depend on which joints are affected and the type of arthritis an individual suffers from.
The best pain relief for arthritis may include the following:
●        Arthritis medications that induce analgesia like paracetamol
●        Medications to slow the disease
●        Creams and ointments that are rubbed into the skin provide pain relief for joints
●        Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
●        Steroids that control or reduce inflammation
●        Biologics and biosimilar medicines that target the immune system
 
Other pain management that doesn’t involve arthritis medication can include techniques like mediation or breathwork as they aim to calm the nervous system and control the pain through mindfulness. Some individuals will also choose to supplement their arthritis treatment with other natural, homeopathic or naturopathic and homeopathic remedies, which should always be discussed with the doctor first.

What are the early warning signs of arthritis?

The first sign of arthritis is generally physical pain — also known as arthralgia. It can present as a burning sensation or dull ache or both and may start in a joint that is used repeatedly. For example; if hands and fingers typing on a computer all day or using the knees and back when walking up several flights of stairs. In some cases, getting out of bed in the morning and feeling a sense of general stiffness can be the first sign of arthritis. Sometimes these symptoms and signs can be treated with natural remedies for arthritis and depending on severity, while medication for joint pain can be recommended or prescribed by a practitioner. 
Some of the most common signs of arthritis include:
●        General stiffness and swelling in joints
●        Pain that worsens when inactive and improves during activity
●        Stiffness in joints in the morning that lasts for more than an hour
●        Weight loss, fever, anaemia or fatigue
●        Reduced range of movement
 
Arthritis can often begin in the smaller and more mobile joints like the feet, hands and wrists and it can impact both sides of the body at the same time. This condition may start slowly and move through different joints over time or it can increase in severity quite rapidly. The pain felt varies between each individual, but it can range from mild and situational to quite aggressive and constant.

Other Conditions


Sources:

  1. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/arthritis
  2. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/arthritis
  3. https://www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/medicinal-cannabis-products-patient-information