Joint pain or rheumatic pain prompts a lot people to seek medical help because of the trouble and pain that it brings. Each individual has different pain threshold level. Sometimes seeing a doctor depends upon how much pain is experienced and how it is affecting a person's life. If joint pain is experienced but without swelling or fever, generally it is safe to wait and see what happens. However, if there is constant pain that is already interfering with a person's daily activities, seeking for a doctor's exam is advisable. If joint pain is accompanied with fever, sudden and considerable swelling with severe pain, it is best to see a doctor as well.
What type of doctor should you see then? A rheumatologist and an orthopedic surgeon are two types of doctors who deal with joint and muscle illnesses. Furthermore, an orthopedic surgeon focuses mostly on surgical treatment of these conditions. Although it may be appropriate to see these types of doctors, primary care doctors can very well handle non-complicated rheumatic problems and may only make referrals to specialists if the condition demands it.
The major complaint about arthritis is the pain that accompanies it. Most often, medicines that you can buy over the counter are the first treatment of choice for arthritic pain. There are two types of pain relievers that are used to alleviate the pain that goes with arthritis. Not one type though is perfect for all pains but however if used correctly, both types could be beneficial. These two main types are the simple pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).
Acetaminophen is an example of a simple pain reliever that can be effective in controlling pain caused by arthritis. To determine its effectiveness, a medicine should be taken overtime and the same is true with acetaminophen. Two extra strength tablets taken three to four times daily and taken for several days should be enough to determine whether or not it will be effective for a long-term treatment plan. Acetaminophen's edge over the other pain reliever's is its known gentleness to the stomach and not causing gastrointestinal problems. However, it has its own share of accompanying risks as with other medicines. People who drink alcohol heavily or those who have underlying liver disease may encounter liver problems arising from acetaminophen medication. NSAIDs are medicines that relieve pain and decrease inflammation, the two classic symptoms of arthritis. Examples of these medicines are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium all of which are readily available over the counter without prescription. There are also many other NSAIDs that are available through prescription. NSAIDs have the added advantage of decreasing inflammation aside from relieving pain. Although NSAIDs are effective in relieving arthritis, these have accompanying serious effects. Ulcer or bleeding from the stomach poses a major concern to those who are taking these types of drugs. This side effect usually occurs more frequently in patients who have a previous history of stomach ulcers, elderly patients and those patients who have underlying illnesses and are taking other medications. Another major concern with NSAIDs is the possibility of harming kidney function. Although this poses a potential problem, thankfully its incidence is rather rare.
Maintaining an ideal body weight is not only the key to better health but this will also aid in treating arthritis. An obese or over weight individual carries extra load increasing the painful arthritic joint's wear and strain.
There are also some foods that may affect arthritis symptoms. These could either increase or decrease the symptoms. Fish oils have been found out to decrease the inflammation that usually comes with rheumatoid arthritis. There are also specific foods that cause arthritis symptoms to flare up, although these vary from person to person. Identifying your own food culprit may help you and your doctor properly deal with your arthritis.