Promising new clinical research indicates that the prescription drug methotrexate, which is already used to treat rheumatoid arthritis & certain types of cancer may also provide relief to those coping with osteoarthritis. This new six month study was conducted in the United Kingdom by the University of Leeds and Arthritis Research UK.
Those already coping with the pain of osteoarthritis know that current treatments are generally limited to nsaid therapy and physical therapy when possible. Surgery is generally limited to extreme cases where other less invasive options are no longer effective. The prospect of new and effective treatment with methotrexate could prevent or delay surgery for many.
Of course as with most all drug therapies there is the risk of serious side effects so talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any therapy. Also, if anyone has any experience with methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis please share your experience with our readers below. Thanks.
Methorexate, also known as MTX or amethopterin has been in use for more than fifty years and is closely chemically related to folic acid.
Calcium & Vitamin D for Joint Pain
Despite some preliminary evidence that low levels of Vitamin D along with a calcium deficiency in postmenopausal women may play a role in joint pain, it now appears that there might not be a correlation. The results of a study involving nearly 2000 women, with have being given D and calcium supplements and the other half taking a placebo over a two year period showed that there was no improvement in joint pain in those taking the supplements.
However, the results of this study should not result in anyone stopping their current supplement intake without first talking with their doctor as each supplement can still be helpful in treating a variety of other conditions. You can read the abstract of this study for additional information.
Stems Cell Therapy for Knee Pain
There have been multiple articles lately, including this press release that address the advantages of using stem cell therapy to treat knee pain in some patients. By using stem cells as opposed to surgery many of the risks involved with traditional knee replacement surgery can be avoided such as complications from anesthesia and post op infections. The release also points out that if a patient can also use their own stem cells the risk for an autoimmune reaction in the body could be eliminated.
This regenerative medicine procedure is also very simple compared to other surgical options. The stem cells are simply injected into the body by the doctor. Hopefully the pain of the needle would be the worst of it. The article does not address the long term success rates for this type of treatment, however, that may be attributable to the relative newness of stem cell procedures for treating the knee.
The bottom line is that the introduction of new and less invasive treatment options and therapies is welcome news for the millions who suffer from all forms of joint pain.
Physical Therapy for Back Pain
New evidence suggests that for some people, getting treatment soon after low back pain begins, may be able to prevent chronic back pain in the future. Further, in some cases it may actually turn out to be cheaper to pay a little extra in the short run to get proper physical therapy than to have to deal with the high costs associated with an ongoing condition which could ultimately involve surgery of long term use of pain medication.
Researchers admit that physical therapy might only help a small segment of the population, but, identifying who those people are could have tremendous financial and medical benefits. More research still needs to be done, but given the incredible prevalence of lower back pain any early intervention advancements would be welcome. Of course getting the insurance companies to jump on board for physical therapy early might end up being the really tricky part.
Polymyalgia Rheumatica (or PMR) is a relatively common form of muscle pain and stiffness that occurs most frequently in the hips upper back, & neck area. Sufferers are most likely to be afflicted in the morning after waking up but symptoms can appear at any time in the day. Women are twice as likely as men to be afflicted and it occurs most often in older adults.
Although PMR symptoms are not limited to just muscle stiffness. A general feeling of malaise or fatigued, a low grade fever, and even Anemia. Unfortunately there is not one clear cut test to diagnosis this disease, although certain blood tests can help your doctor in making a diagnosis.
Depending on the severity of the pain, nsaid pain relievers may be tried first although quite often the oral steroid prednisone proves to be the most effective treatment in providing symptom relief, generally in just a few days. If you don’t see relief from prednisone, contact your doctor immediately to rule out other possible causes for the muscle pain.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Researchers in Canada have addressed the issue of what criteria should be used in determining who is most likely to have a positive outcome from total joint replacement surgery. They point out the importance of helping a patient determine when to stop simply trying to minimize the symptoms with pain management and move forward with surgery. As surgery is usually a last resort, if the joints are not too badly damaged or deteriorated and the level of pain is acceptable, surgery and its risks can often be delayed.
The researchers also cast doubt on the high rate of success often cited by manufacturers and doctors involved in this type of surgery. However controlling for other factors such as additional health problems or defining what constitutes a successful outcome could have contributed to the lower rate. Definitely check out the link above to read more, especially if you or a loved one is considering joint replacement surgery.
There is new evidence that using topical NSAID creams and lotions can in many cases provide safe and effective pain relief from osteoarthritis in many patients. Given the rare occurrence of severe side effects, such as severe burning of the skin, these topical preparations might make them a good first option.
However, other medical organizations still recommend starting out with oral NSAIDs like Aleve(naproxen sodium) or Advil(ibuprofen). So as usual, always talk to your doctor before starting any course of treatment. Just because a medication is over the counter does not mean that it is 100% safe and without possible severe side effects. Finally any osteoarthritis treatment plan should always include a discussion about low impact exercise and weight loss to supplement or lessen the need for medication.
If you’ve have success or failure in treating joint pain please drop us a line below outlining your experience. Thanks.
New research indicates that it may be possible to treat the symptoms of back pain by changing the way a person thinks about and reacts to the pain. According to a study published in the European Journal of Pain, symptom relief was achieved by having subjects think more positively about their back pain and by modifying the mental and physical behaviors associated with the pain. The protective movements that may come instinctively to sufferers may not in fact be the best movements to achieve long term relief.
For example, for many back conditions it was always assumed that bed rest was the prescription, however it is now this is now generally accepted to be false. Of course every situation is different so always talk to your doctor and maybe a little change in your thought process might bring some big results.
There is new evidence and continuing clinical trials to see if this normally avoided insect product could actually bring relief to some patients. Bee venom therapy has been around for a while but according to recent news reports it is now being further investigated as a potential back pain treatment.
Obviously in the studies will be more controlled than putting sufferers in a room filled with bees and seeing what happens, as the venom from bees will be collected and injected into patients. A bit of skepticism is always a good idea, but any new research to help the millions of Americans currently suffering from this sort of muscle pain in the back would certainly be welcome news. Again, please don’t try this at home by using some sort of “honey do” method.
While much is written about the benefits of taking Omega-3 oil vitamin supplements from fish or other sources, it can become be very confusing to patients, consumers, and even some doctors when trying to figure out the just the right omega-3 oil dosage and the correct levels of DHA. A review of the the research seems to indicate that you need to find a dose of at least 600mg of DHA in the omega-3 supplements to get the possible benefits. New and often conflicting research on the benefits of Omega-3 is also constantly emerging so stay up to date and always talk to your physician before starting or changing your intake of any medication.