In the past few years, scientists have developed many new treatment options for arthritis and extensive research is still going on to cure and slow down the process of degeneration of arthritis. Some of the latest research in the treatment of arthritis has shown positive and promising results. But these breakthrough in the research and development of arthritis treatment have been examined only in short term studies and have limited focus and therefore, the normal fluctuation and the accurate effects of these new treatments are still under scrutiny. However, these treatments have attracted many arthritis patients who are more than willing to try these latest options in order to recover from arthritis.
Top research directions
1. Joint supplement
Glucosamine is known as a common joint supplement and functions as an important building block of glycosaminoglycans, one of the major cartilage components. It has been found that if glucosamine is available in higher quantities in the body, it can help in the stimulation of cartilage growth. However, glucosamine are always combined with another form of cartilage building block known as chondroitin. This theory of supplementing glucosamine combined with chondroitin has been employed on a number of patients by researchers and it has shown significant improvements in the symptoms of arthritis. A recent study in Europe also favored the positive results of arthritis treatment using joint supplement. Furthermore, joint supplements can be purchased conveniently at health food stores and can be used without any major side effects.
Synvisc is made from the cells of rooster cartilage and is available in the form of an injectable substance. It is also known as a joint lubricant or motor oil. The process of Synvisc treatment involves injecting the patient with Synvisc injection in a series of three to five. This substance acts as a lubricant and a shock absorber for the joints and is convenient for knee joint as the injecting needle can reach directly to the affected area. The treatment of arthritis with Synvisc injection is still under research and has been only approved for treating arthritis affecting knee joint and some of the studies has even shown some questionable results.
3. Cortisone injection
Cortisone is a steroid produced naturally by the adrenal gland when the body encounters stress. It acts as potent anti-inflammatory medication, which can relieve the patient from pain by reducing inflammation. Cortisone are produced synthetically and are commercially known as celestone, kenalog, etc. It can be injected in very high concentration in any inflammation-affected area without resulting in any major side effects. This medication only takes a few days to work and prevents reoccurrence of inflammation for many weeks. However, extensive research is still going on for developing cortisone injection treatment for more effective and permanent results.
4. Anti-inflammatory medication
Most of the arthritis patients use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication or NSAIDs for reducing pain and swelling. These are the commonly prescribed medication and are available as Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Motrin, DayPro, etc over the counter. NSAIDs functions by blocking the effect of cycloooxygenase, an enzyme promoting the production of prostaglandins, which causes pain and swelling in arthritis. The prominent side-effect of NSAIDs is the risk of developing stomach ulcers but the latest development in the studies of NSAIDs has put forward some new derivatives of this drug which can reduce pain and swelling without delivering the risk of developing stomach ulcer. However, the studies strongly suggest that any patient having a history of stomach ulcers should avoid using anti-inflammatory medication, as it will further complicate the system and result in higher chance of redeveloping the disease. Moreover, NSAIDs should also be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women, and by the people taking blood thinning medication.
5. Epidural steroid injection
The work and function of epidural steroid injection is very similar to the process of cortisone injection. The only difference between these two treatments is that, unlike cortisone injection, epidural steroid injection is injected directly into the blood stream for placing the medication around the region of spinal nerves. The process of injecting epidural steroid takes 15 minutes and in most cases, light sedation is required. The epidural steroid injection can be administered by experienced physicians, anesthesiologist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeons, and interventional radiologist. This treatment provides long lasting relief but is not devoid of side effects. The common side effects of this treatment are infection, bleeding, dural tears, and increased blood sugar. Scientists are still involved in the research of this drug in order to minimize its side effects and it has been predicted that very soon epidural steroid injection may develop into a very convenient treatment for arthritis with no major side effects.