August 2018

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Subscribers Only — Hundreds of stem cell clinics have popped up across the country, many of them hoping to cash in on the enthusiasm surrounding this treatment. “The field, particularly in the past five years, has been overrun with a large number of people who have co-opted the word ‘stem’ and have been using it as a marketing tool to offer therapies to patients that are as yet unproven,” says Dr. Muschler. “That practice is a misuse of the term ‘stem cell’ and amounts to selling false hope.”   More...

Ask The Doctors: August 2018

A: Arthritis in the hands, whether from osteoarthritis (the wearing down of the cushioning cartilage in joints) or rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease), can make even simple daily tasks challenging. If you have arthritis in any of the hand joints, it’s best to avoid excessive stress to protect them. There are many products that can help, including arthritis gloves. Most provide gentle compression, which increases circulation and helps decrease swelling and pain. They are made from a material that helps maintain warmth in joints, which helps decrease discomfort during motion. Arthritis gloves can make your hands feel better, but they do not stop the destruction of arthritis.   More...

Long-Term Benefits of RA Drugs

Another limitation relates to the types of studies used to measure long-term effects. The ideal study is a randomized, controlled clinical trial. With this study design, one group of people who take the medication would be compared to a control group that does not. This can’t be done over long periods of time because it would be unethical to withhold medication. Therefore, evidence comes from observational studies, which do not have a controlgroup.   More...

9 Ways to Ease Foot Pain

Subscribers Only — Joints in the foot provide stability, support and movement. If they are compromised by arthritis, it helps to have something rigid between the bottom of the foot and the ground. Look for shoes with a firm, solid sole. They will help to bear some of the stress on feet. Hold the heel of a shoe in one hand and the toe in the other and squeeze. It shouldn’t bend. Some people with arthritis in the big toe get relief with shoes that have a rocker sole, which has a thicker than normal sole and rounded heel. They propel you with less stress on toes.   More...

Surgery for Thumb Arthritis

Subscribers Only — “Surgery is very effective,” says Cleveland Clinic orthopaedic surgeon Joseph Styron, MD, PhD. But he warns that with the most commonly performed procedure there is a long recovery period. It doesn’t instantaneously feel better after surgery. In the first six weeks, people tend to have even more pain than before the surgery. “After that they start to feel better, and by 12 weeks they are happy and relieved that they had the surgery,” says Dr. Styron.   More...

New Shingles Vaccine

Subscribers Only — According to the CDC, Shingrix may be used in people with weakened immune systems. “At this point, no studies have examined Shingrix in patients with autoimmune disease,” cautions Dr. Calabrese. Shingrix includes a compound called an adjuvant that helps the vaccine create a stronger immune response. “The adjuvant revs up the immune system, so there is a concern for exacerbating autoimmune diseases,” explains Dr. Calabrese. Rheumatologists are awaiting further data on Shingrix in this patient population.   More...

In The News: August 2018

Low back pain is a common problem and a leading cause of disability. A variety of treatments are used to address it. Recent guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend nondrug treatment first, including heat, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation by a chiropractor or other healthcare provider. Findings from a study published in JAMA Network Open (May 2018) back up the effectiveness of spinal manipulation. The study included 750 active-duty service members aged 18 to 50 with low back pain. Half of them received usual medical care, including medications, physical therapy and referral to a pain clinic. The other half also received up to 12 visits with a chiropractor for spinal manipulation and other therapies. After six weeks, the group receiving usual care plus chiropractic care had greater improvements in lowering pain intensity and disability than those getting usual care alone.   More...

Stem Cell Therapy: Hope for Arthritis or Just Hype?

Hundreds of stem cell clinics have popped up across the country, many of them hoping to cash in on the enthusiasm surrounding this treatment. “The field, particularly in the past five years, has been overrun with a large number of people who have co-opted the word ‘stem’ and have been using it as a marketing tool to offer therapies to patients that are as yet unproven,” says Dr. Muschler. “That practice is a misuse of the term ‘stem cell’ and amounts to selling false hope.”   More...