Get proper medical treatment. Your primary-care doctor will most likely refer you to a rheumatologist, or a doctor who specializes in treating patients with arthritis. Ask questions about the best medical treatment for you and your type of arthritis. Your doctor will be able to refer you to any specialist, such as those for physical and occupational therapy, and discuss other treatment options with you such as medication and any changes in your diet you may need to make.

Take your medication as directed. Do not stop taking your medication if you notice you’re feeling better. Arthritis is a disease that is treated and managed, not cured by medication. Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, that means more weight and pressure is being put on your joints, resulting in more severe arthritis pain. Getting down to a healthy weight will help to alleviate some of the pain and pressure in your joints. Follow your doctor’s orders in regards to diet and exercise, getting enough rest, and any limitations in your physical activity. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and proper physical activity will benefit your health and help you better deal with your arthritis.

Take corticosteroids to help control the inflammation, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Corticosteroids are drugs similar to the cortisol produced by the adrenal gland. These drugs work to block substances that can cause inflammation. Corticosteroids can be taken orally, applied as a cream, or injected into the joints. Speak with your doctor about corticosteroid treatment and which type of corticosteroid treatment may be right for you.

Take non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and others. If you’re on other medications speak with your doctor before taking anything else. NSAIDs work to reduce fever, pain and inflammation. As with any other medications, only take the recommended dosage and monitor any adverse side effect you may have so you can discuss them with your doctor.

Use heat or ice methods to help relieve joint pain and swelling. If you’re experiencing pain in the joints, heating methods such as a warm bath, heating pad, or holding a hot cloth on the area can help. If you’re experiencing swelling and hot joints, an ice pack or cold compress can help. You may also find it works well if you alternate between the two methods.

Speak with your doctor about arthroscopic or joint replacement surgery. Surgery options can be a beneficial part of your treatment plan. Know that along with the benefits, there may also be risks associated with surgery that you and your doctor should discuss before you make a final decision.

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