Arthritis affects 1 in 5 people and is defined as inflammation of the joint. It is a chronic condition that can affect almost any joint but may also affect other parts of the body.
There are two main types of arthritis:
- Inflammatory arthritis (IA)
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
It is important to know which arthritis you have – don’t try to self-diagnose this condition.
Inflammatory arthritis should be treated and monitored by a physician or specialist, as the condition is often associated with other conditions.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, caused by wear and tear. It can be age-related, due to overuse, or injury. A healthy joint requires a covering of cartilage on the ends of the bones for smooth, unhindered movement. If the cartilage is worn or damaged, movement can be difficult, and perhaps painful. Stiffness and swelling can also occur in the joint area, limiting mobility and activity. As osteoarthritis progresses, it may lead to bone on bone damage.
If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, treatment may include exercises, medication, immobilization of the joint or rest. In situations where your body cannot repair itself, surgery may be the option. Medications for pain may also be recommended by your physician or specialist. Medications for joint pain can be in the form of tablets, capsules, liquids or topical gels and creams. In some cases, the application of topical rubs may be of benefit or required to prevent interactions with your other medications. Your pharmacist will ensure that medications you are taking won’t interfere with other medications you may be on, or with other conditions that you may have.
Your Pharmachoice pharmacist is part of your health care team, supporting the recommendations of your physician or specialist. Pharmacists can help you with products to stabilize, protect or immobilize the affected joint, offer counsel on medications, supplements, vitamins and discuss the concerns and questions you may have.