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Arthritis Advisor 2016 Topic Index

Six New Years Resolutions for Pain Relief(Jan, 1)Understanding Fibromyalgias Chronic Influence(Jan, 4)Laughter: The Best Medicine(Jan, 6)Consistent PT Combats Knee OA Pain-Physically and Financially(Feb, 2)Acupunctures Benefits(Feb, 8)X-rays Unreliable for Hip OA Diagnosis(Mar, 2)Hand Arthritis(Mar, 8)

In the News: December 2016

The supplements glucosamine and chondroitin have been put to the test in several studies for their ability to relieve pain and possibly preserve cartilage in people with osteoarthritis. Knee pain is a common complaint in people over age 40. To diagnose the cause, physicians may use imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and weight-bearing X-rays. A program of physical therapy is standard after joint replacement surgery to facilitate the return to normal physical function. Biologic drugs are standard treatment for many people with rheumatoid arthritis. Because these drugs are derived from living cells, it has not been possible to create traditional generic versions of them, even after the patents have run out.

In the News: November 2016

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis take biologic drugs, which differ from traditional drugs in that they are produced by living cells. This makes it difficult to produce cheaper generic versions. Biosimilar drugs, which are approximate copies that have the same therapeutic effect, have been created to replace traditional generic drugs. In a study published in August 2016, researchers analyzed results of 19 studies of five biologic drugs and their biosimilar counterparts.

Crepitus and Sleep Positions

My knees make a crunching sound when I bend down, and sometimes my neck makes a noise when I turn my head. Why is that? I have chronic low back pain. I like to sleep on my stomach. I know thats not ideal. What is the best sleeping position?

In the News: October 2016

Chronic low back pain is common and a leading cause of disability. Weight loss can potentially prevent the need for knee replacement surgery in people with knee osteoarthritis. Being overweight or obese is known to increase your chances for developing osteoarthritis and it makes symptoms even worse for people who already have it. A sudden knee injury can tear the meniscus, a C-shaped piece of cartilage between the thighbone and shinbone. Meniscal tears also may occur simply as a result of aging because the cartilage can become brittle over time (called degenerative meniscal tears).

In the News: September 2016

People with rheumatoid arthritis who are obese (BMI of 30 or more) are less likely to achieve remission than people of normal weight, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research (May 2016). The biologic drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis often make it possible to achieve remission, which means having few or no symptoms. The researchers pooled results from 20 studies and found that people who were obese were 43 percent less likely to achieve remission and 51 percent less likely to achieve sustained remission than people who were not obese.

Stem Cells: Hype vs. Reality

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the cushioning material that covers the ends of bones, deteriorates. Over time, this can lead to pain, inflammation and limited mobility. No treatment will stop or reverse this process. The mainstays of therapy are pain management, weight loss and, if the condition becomes severe, joint replacement. Injectable treatments like corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid may be used, but the effectiveness of these treatments varies.

New Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis Have Big Impact

When you think of people who have arthritis, a 35-year-old with a skin condition may not come to mind. Of the more than 100 types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is by far the most common, and it generally affects people in older age. Other types of arthritis are autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation in joints. One of these, psoriatic arthritis, affects up to one-third of people who have the skin condition psoriasis.

Hip Replacements, Tai Chi, Metabolism Changes, and Gout

Two surgical techniques can be used for total hip replacement, and there is debate about which is superior. Tai chi, a low-impact, slow-motion exercise that combines gentle movements with meditation and deep breathing, has been found in some small studies to help people with arthritis. Studies have shown that people who lose weight often have difficulty maintaining the weight loss and may eventually regain most or all of the pounds lost. An analysis published in a journal found that newspapers often print misleading articles about gout.

In the News: July 2016

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 dont smoke.

Topical NSAIDs and Wrist Pain

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.

Ask the Doctors: June 2016

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that often gets worse over time. When over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), start to lose effectiveness, it can be tempting to turn to stronger pain medications. But opioid drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, should not be used for a chronic pain condition like arthritis.