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Bones & Joints

Welcome to the new Arthritis Advisor website!

We’re pleased to present to you Arthritis Advisor’s brand-new website. On the site, you’ll find advice and information on bone and joint care.

Curcumin for Arthritis Pain

If you have osteoarthritis and you are looking for an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief, consider curcumin.

When Your Shoulder Is Out of Joint

If you fall onto your shoulder or your arm gets yanked too hard, you can dislocate a shoulder. Its usually painful, and you may notice that your arm is out of place. How a shoulder dislocation is treated and how urgently you need to seek treatment will depend on what happens when the ball pops out of the socket.

In The News: January 2020

Statins are commonly-used drugs to lower cholesterol. Some studies have found that these drugs may also have a positive effect on bones. According to a recent study, the effect may depend on the dose. The study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (September 2019), examined the relationship between statins and the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. Researchers analyzed health data on 353,502 people who took statins, 11,701 of whom were diagnosed with osteoporosis. They were compared with over 7 million people who did not take statins. Overall, those who took statins were more likely than nonusers to have osteoporosis. However, the effect depended on the dose. Those who took a low statin dose of 10 milligrams (mg) a day actually had up to a 60% reduced risk of osteoporosis. Taking 40 mg or more of simvastatin or 20 mg or more of atorvastatin or rosuvastatin increased risk.

Medication Management of Arthritis

For most older adults, Dr. Hashmi recommends starting with acetaminophen (Tylenol). "It is weaker than an NSAID, but you can compensate for that by taking a higher dose," he says. A potential side effect is liver damage, but you can safely take up to 3 grams a day. Tylenol typically comes in pills of 325 or 500 milligrams (mg). "You can take up to two 500-mg pills three times a day without fear it will affect the liver," he says.

Your Aging Spine

Your spine is a column made of a stack of small bones (vertebrae) with the spinal cord running through it. Each vertebra has a cylindrical part (inside is the spinal cord and nerve roots), on the back of which is a bony ring with spiky projections (called the spinous process). The cylinders are stacked on top of one another and separated with shock-absorbing cushions (disks).

Preserving Hips

When you think about hip pain, osteoarthritis in older adults may be what comes to mind. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of hip pain. But the hip joint is susceptible to many other conditions as well, and they can affect people of all ages.

Ask The Doctors: November 2019

A: The short answer to your question is no. But that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about it. Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage, and it cannot be reversed. Where two bones meet to form a joint the ends of the bones are covered with cartilage, which is a tough slippery material that allows the bones to glide smoothly over each other. At the most mobile joints (called synovial joints), which are the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, ankles and toes, the cushioning cartilage can wear down. The reasons are not known, but it is partly a function of aging. Close to 50% of Americans ages 65 and over have arthritis.

Gout Drugs Are Underused

Uric acid is a waste product of natural processes in the body. It is eliminated through the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. If not enough uric acid is removed, it can accumulate in the blood. Once levels exceed 6.8 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), uric acid can leave the bloodstream and settle in joints, tendons and under the skin.

Conquer Fear of Falling

To strengthen the calf muscles and small muscles of the ankles and feet, try this simple exercise: Stand up tall and rise straight up on your toes. Try to stay stable for three seconds. Have your hands hovering over a surface (close but not touching) for safety. Work up to doing this 20 times. Eventually, try doing this on one foot. Start with five repetitions.

Relief for Nagging Hip Pain

A short course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), can be used as long as there are no reasons not to take them. NSAIDs should be used cautiously in certain people, including those with a history of stomach ulcers, kidney disease, heart disease or stroke. Talk to your doctor to ensure you are taking the drugs safely. Your doctor also may prescribe a stronger NSAID.

Adults Need Vaccines Too

Anyone can get the flu. It usually lasts about a week and often requires bed rest for a few days. Some people are at high risk for developing flu-related complications, such as pneumonia. They include children, older adults and people with some chronic diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis). During the 2017-2018 flu season, close to 1 million people were hospitalized for the flu, and there were 79,400 deaths from the flu.