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About Arthritis

People who experience pain in their joints may suffer from arthritis. There are two different types of arthritis:

Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form, and rheumatoid arthritis.Osteoarthritis is caused by general wear and tear on the joints and usually affects the joints of the spine, knees, and hips. Most people in their fifties or sixties have some joint changes, but they only experience occasional mild pain. Sometimes, however, the cartilage in the joint disintegrates more than usual, and the joint becomes increasingly painful and stiff.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease of the joints, and its exact cause is unknown. The membrane surrounding a joint gradually becomes inflamed and swollen, which leads to general inflammation of the affected joint. Arthritis usually affects the small joints in the hands and feet (mainly the knuckles and toe joints), but it can also occur in the wrists, knees, ankles, neck, and low back. Arthritic joints become red, swollen, stiff and painful to move. The stiffness is usually most noticeable in the morning.

Topical painkillers

come as gels, creams, lotions or patches that are applied directly to the skin over your aching joints. Four types of over-the-counter joint creams are sometimes used for arthritis pain relief, including:
■ Emu oil. Example Blue-Emu long lasting Arthritis muscle and joint pain relief
Read more about it Click Here

■ Applications that make skin feel hot or cold. Doctors call these products counterirritants because they contain ingredients that irritate your skin. Ingredients such as menthol, oil of wintergreen or eucalyptus oil produce a sensation of hot or cold that distracts you from your arthritis pain, giving you temporary arthritis pain relief. Examples include Icy Hot or Perform Pain Relieving Spray and many more.

■ Aspirin-like pain rubs. Some products, called topical analgesics, contain salicylates, the same ingredients that give aspirin its pain-relieving quality. In addition to offering arthritis pain relief, these products may reduce joint inflammation as they're absorbed into the skin. Examples include Bengay, Aspercreme, Mobisyl and Sportscreme. If you are allergic to aspirin or are taking blood thinners, check with your doctor before using topical medications that contain salicylates.

■ Creams made from chili pepper seeds. The seeds contain a compound called capsaicin (kap-say-IH-sin), which causes the burning sensation you associate with peppers. Creams made with capsaicin are most effective for arthritis pain in joints close to the skin surface, such as your fingers, knees and elbows. Capsaicin creams work by depleting your nerve cells of a chemical called substance P, which is important for sending pain messages. Capsaicin creams may need to be applied regularly for one or two weeks before arthritis pain relief may occur. Examples include Capzasin and Zostrix.

Moist Heat Treatments

For individuals with Osteoarthritis, moist heat can help relax tight muscles, decrease joint stiffness, and temporarily relieve pain. For the most effective treatment, build up heat quickly and maintain the heat as high as you are able to tolerate. Continue the treatment for 15-30 minutes.

If a person suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, moist heat can help relieve morning joint stiffness. By simply keeping a hot pack next to the bed, you can apply moist heat before getting up. During the day, exercise helps to maintain joint motion, and warming the joints before exercise allows for more movement. Because long periods of heat may increase inflammation, limit the treatment to 15-20 minutes if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Arthritis

One type of arthritis pain relievers are NSAIDs -- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These are drugs that reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Inflammation is the body's response to irritation or injury, and is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. NSAIDs are used to treat a variety of conditions that cause inflammation, including arthritis and tendinitis. NSAIDs are also used to treat pain from injury or other causes of long-term pain.

Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDS that can be purchased over-the-counter include:

Advil, Motrin Ibuprofen
Aleve Naproxen Sodium
Ascriptin, Bayer, BC Aspirin
Tylenol Acetaminophen

Arthritis Supplements

Many people with arthritis -- especially osteoarthritis -- use supplements in their diet to ease the pain of arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are the most well-known and best tested. Methyl sulfonylmethane (MSM) is another supplement used to ease the pain of arthritis, but it has not been through as much rigorous scientific testing