For the tens of thousands of sufferers in the United States alone, pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis is a serious concern.
The problem is much of the rheumatoid arthritis drug therapy doesn't come without potentially dangerous side effects.
For some people, these risks may be worth the pain relief obtained. In the end, the decision whether to use certain prescription drugs will be a personal one. Something to be discussed between you and your physician.
Because of the dangers of rheumatoid arthritis drug therapy, many people are now looking to natural remedies as well to control inflammation.
This article will discuss various popular ways people are trying to achieve pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also called NSAIDS). The most popular ones are ibuprofen and aspirin. These are used to fight the inflammation, thereby bringing joint pain relief. Yes, they can be effective, but if used for long periods of time, there can be serious health repercussions. For example, they can cause stomach problems, ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Heart troubles are also a possibility.
2. COX-2 inhibitors. Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last few years has probably heard about the bad press these have received. They are FDA approved drugs that were marketed and sold for years. Then, it was discovered that one of the biggest ones, Vioxx, produced by Merck, greatly increased the chance of heart attacks and stroke.
Thousands of lawsuits are now pending. However, they are still available on the market. The COX-2 inhibitors were a popular rheumatoid arthritis drug therapy because they blocked an enzyme (the COX-2 enzyme) that caused inflammation.
So, they definitely work, but at what potential health risk? We are not here to judge. That's for you to decide.
3. Corticosteroids. These are also used as rheumatoid arthritis drug therapy to reduce inflammation. However, most physicians recommend that corticosteroids only be used only for short durations because of bad possible health side effects, such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, weight gain, and more.
4. Natural Remedies. These are increasingly catching on as one avenue for pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis. Omega 3 fatty acids, of which most people in the Western world are deficient, are known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Omega 3 fatty acids have the added benefit of being good for heart and brain health.
However, there are also risks as well because they have anti-coagulant properties (thin the blood). Therefore, if you are already on other blood thinners (whether prescription or not), you should talk to your physician before adding omega 3 supplements to your regimen for daily pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis.
But is there any evidence that omega 3 fatty acids are effective, especially considering they cannot be considered rheumatoid arthritis drug therapy?
According to the University of Maryland's Medical Center's website:
"Most clinical studies investigating the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for inflammatory joint conditions have focused almost entirely on rheumatoid arthritis. Several articles reviewing the research in this area conclude that omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce tenderness in joints, decrease morning stiffness, and allow for a reduction in the amount of medication needed for people with rheumatoid arthritis. "
In conclusion, omega 3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient - of which fish oil is the best source - that most of us who live in the Western world need more of, and because they benefit overall health, it seems to us that they are one of the best natural ways to fight inflammation and achieve pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis for the long term.
Dan Ho is editor of http://www.omega-3-fish-oil-guide.com/Fish_oil_arthritis.html Visit us now for tips and advice on selecting a high quality omega 3 supplement.