May 2015

When You Can’t Stomach NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain relievers are relied upon for people battling arthritis. Yet, for many NSAIDs simply aren’t an option due to the upset stomach and nausea—or more severe effects including ulcer or gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding—they can cause. If your doctor has recommended you stop using NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®), you may be wondering where you can turn for relief. Fortunately, there are several NSAID alternatives to consider. It may take a little investigation as to which one works best in your situation, but options are out there to explore, say Cleveland Clinic experts.   More...

Arthritis and Anxiety: A Common Combination

Subscribers Only — Arthritis hurts, and your body knows it. But, the condition can take a toll on your mental health as well. For many of those with arthritis who carry on day to day in persistent discomfort, their emotional resources can be drained. While both depression and anxiety are common among people suffering from chronic disease, anxiety is actually twice as common in those diagnosed with arthritis or other rheumatic conditions, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research (April 2012).   More...

5 ‘Natural’ Pain-Relief Remedies

Subscribers Only — Long before the evolution of modern medicine, natural remedies were used to treat sickness and pain. While sources such as ginger and green tea have been shown to be effective anti-inflammatory agents, it’s important to have a discussion with your doctor before adding these or other supplements to your daily regimen, according to Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. Read on to learn about the story behind five of the most commonly used natural remedies for pain relief.   More...

Thaw Out Your Frozen Shoulder

Just like a rusty hinge on a door, a shoulder joint insulted by pain, injury or a chronic condition like arthritis can become immovable. As swelling and stiffness settle in, the shoulder can feel like it’s immobile—literally frozen. This so-called adhesive capsulitis occurs when the sac of ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint (or the articular shoulder capsule) swells and stiffens, causing tightness that restricts movement. While experts do not fully understand why frozen shoulder occurs, it’s a fact that the condition typically affects women between 40 and 60 years of age. Having arthritis in the shoulder joint can add insult to injury, according to Cleveland Clinic Sports Health & Orthopaedic Rehabilitation physical therapist Mark Kalinowski, PT, OCS. “Frozen shoulder usually starts as a dull ache that gradually worsens,” explains Kalinowski. “Soon, just reaching for something on a shelf can be very painful. In severe cases, the joint becomes very rigid and stiff and loses all mobility.”   More...

Feet Ache? Finding Relief Can Ease Pain Elsewhere

The feet are your body’s foundation, and if they ache, it can cause you to hurt all over. While any pain in the feet can slow you down, heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is a common complaint. There is a thick band of connective tissue on the bottom of our feet called the plantar fascia. It runs along the sole from the bottom of the heel bone to the toes, and plantar fasciitis can feel like the arch of the foot is literally tearing. There are many causes of plantar fasciitis, including wearing shoes with poor arch support and being overweight, but arthritis can exacerbate the condition. Fortunately, in most people heel and foot pain can be improved significantly through a home exercise treatment program, according to Judi Bar, yoga program manager at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “Through gentle, effective stretching it’s possible to overcome the pain of plantar fasciitis and prevent it from recurring,” says Bar.   More...

In The News: May 2015

Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may have a more successful outcome after total knee or hip replacement surgery, according to recently released research. In a study published in the March Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, taking HRT after total knee or hip arthroplasty was linked with an almost 40 percent decrease in revision surgery later. Compared with those who did not take HRT, the HRT group had a marked decrease in implant failure at three years. And the risk reduction reached approximately 50 percent for those who took HRT for at least a year after surgery. One of the most common reasons why joint replacements fail after the first year is due to aseptic loosening, which can result from osteolysis (bone resorption) or bone loss due to chronic inflammation. HRT has been shown to block resorption of bone. The study looked at more than 24,000 women with a mean age of 65 who underwent primary total knee or hip arthroplasty. The findings encourage research of antiresorptive agents, such as bisphosphonates, which might improve outcomes following joint replacement surgery.   More...

Ask The Doctors: May 2015

I’m considering a total knee replacement after battling osteoarthritis (OA) for over a decade. But, I’ve heard there’s a chance of having an allergic reaction to the metals used in the joint implant. Is this true?   More...