July 2016

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Subscribers Only — There’s no conclusive evidence to guide a decision about glucosamine and chondroitin. The GAIT study did find that they are not harmful, and many people choose to try them. The dosages in the GAIT study were 1,500 mg a day of glucosamine and 1,200 mg a day of chondroitin. Dr. Husni tells her patients to try it for three months. “If you don’t notice a difference in symptoms such as pain or stiffness, don’t waste your money,” she says.   More...

Topical NSAIDs and Wrist Pain

Subscribers Only — For mild-to-moderate pain of osteoarthritis, especially in the hands and possibly knees, topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be effective for pain relief. Some studies show they relieve pain as well as their oral counterparts, and they may be less irritating on the stomach. When wrist pain is a result of carpal tunnel syndrome there usually is numbness in addition to pain. There are other possibilities to consider as a cause of wrist pain.   More...

Joint Replacement: When Sooner May Be Better than Later

If pain in your hips or knees from arthritis has become unbearable, you may be considering joint replacement surgery. But how do you decide if the time is right to undergo this elective procedure? You may have heard that surgery is the treatment of last resort for osteoarthritis, and you should wait until all other options have been exhausted before having a joint replaced. “This is true, but it should not be the last resort to the point where quality of life suffers in the meantime,” says Cleveland Clinic orthopaedic surgeon Michael Bloomfield, MD.   More...

Morning Exercises for Low Back Pain

Subscribers Only — If you suffer from chronic low back pain that tends to be particularly bad in the morning or after you’ve been standing for a long time, you may have facet joint osteoarthritis. Facet joints are small joints behind each vertebrae of the spine. They connect each vertebral body to the vertebrae above and below, helping to stabilize the spine. The first symptoms of facet joint osteoarthritis are stiffness and soreness when rising out of bed in the morning or getting up out of a chair after sitting awhile. One reason for pain in the morning relates to levels of cortisol in the body.   More...

Some Knee Injuries May Increase Risk for Osteoarthritis

Subscribers Only — For most people with osteoarthritis, the cause is unclear. But there are certain factors that are known to increase your risk for osteoarthritis, and one of them is having suffered an injury, from sports or some other trauma. Injuries can occur at any joint, but the knee is particularly susceptible, especially to sports-related injuries. Common knee injuries include tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and tears of the meniscus. How these injuries impact risk for osteoarthritis is a bit complicated.   More...

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Update

Subscribers Only — If you have osteoarthritis, you’ve probably heard of glucosamine and chondroitin. You may be considering taking these supplements, or perhaps you already take them. Because they are supplements you do not need a prescription. But should you take them? Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring substances in the body. Glucosamine is found in cartilage, where it helps in the formation and repair of cartilage. Chondroitin is a component of cartilage that helps cartilage to retain water. It’s thought that taking supplements containing these substances may help relieve joint pain.   More...

In the News: July 2016

Subscribers Only — After prescription drugs have been out on the market for a number of years, most become available in less-costly generic versions. The FDA approved a new drug for people with two of the less common types of arthritis—ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Being overweight or obese can raise your risk for developing osteoarthritis (especially in the knees) and can make symptoms worse if you have it. Not that we need one more reason to quit smoking (or never start), but new research shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis who smoke are likely to die sooner than those who don’t smoke.   More...

Ease Joint Pain with Meditation

Getting relief from chronic pain of arthritis or back problems can be a frustrating quest. It almost always requires a multipronged approach. Physical therapy, medications, supplements, weight loss and assistive devices are a few of the mainstays of treatment. Michael Roizen, MD, Chair of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, suggests adding a regular practice of meditation or other stress-reducing relaxation techniques.   More...