Is it possible to reverse arthritis? Can arthritis be reversed?
Hello!. This is Dr. Abdul Salam, consultant ortho doctor in Coimbatore, and in this post we are going to discuss and try to answer the 1 question I frequently get from my patients. It is ‘can arthritis be reversed’?
Globally, arthritis affects close to over 54 million adults, and most common among arthritis is osteoarthritis. Arthritis of course is graded in different ways. Some patients have mild arthritis while some patients have moderate or severe arthritis. The cardinal point to bear in mind though is that once patients develop arthritis and the damage sets in, the damage are usually permanent in nature
So can arthritis be reversed? Well the answer is no, but further damage can definitely be limited. Moreover, getting the right treatment can also drastically help in restoring full functional recovery and limiting the painful symptoms associated with these conditions. Lets briefly look at these conditions below
Osteoarthritis is a condition develops over a period of time. With increasing age, the cartilage (the joints cushion) between the joints break down and degenerate. When the cushion degrades, the ends of the bones directly start rubbing on one another leading to pain and swelling and in certain cases joint stiffness.
The only thing that can be done in these cases to maintain a full range of motion as well as joint flexibility. Osteoarthritis, once it sets in, cannot be reversed at all.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition and its prevalence increases with age. RA can result in significant pain, stiffness, and debility. RA also cannot be reversed. The damage done to the joints from RA is usually permanent. Moreover, RA requires you to continue to take medications for the long term until the disease achieves remission.
Treatments that slow disease progression
With respect to arthritis, the commonest and most well-proven treatment strategies to slow disease progression include exercise and medications which can significantly improve the quality of life. Exercise helps
- Increase joint stability
- Improves range of motion
- Strengthens the muscles around the joint
- Reduces pain and stiffness around the joint
Medications and pain-relieving strategies that can be used include
- The application of heat and warmth to the joint using a heating pad
- Cold therapy
- A joint brace to support the joint
- Pain medications to ease symptoms and help with movement
Pain medications are not always required for all patients. The final conclusion is that osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, but it can definitely be managed very well with the right treatment strategy and/or approach. I hope you enjoyed reading this article, keep watching this space for more.