Arthritis can strike at any age. It hurts the joints, where two bones meet. It damages the joints and makes them stiff and painful. Sometimes it's so bad it can cripple a person.
Correct treatment can ease the pain and help prevent more damage.
You can help your treatment work. This booklet tells how.
If Your Joints Have Signs of Arthritis, Talk To Your Doctor
If you have arthritis, the doctor may prescribe a medicine for you or tell you to use a medicine you buy without a prescription, like aspirin.
You may need to take more than one medicine.
Before Taking New Medicine, Ask Your Doctor About It
If you took the medicine before and it caused problems, tell the doctor.
Tell the doctor if you are taking other medicines. And ask if you should keep taking them.
Read the Label Of Medicine You Buy Without a Prescription
Like arthritis medicine, many medicines for headaches or colds or flu have pain killers in them. Some common pain killers are aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen.
So before you buy any medicine, read the label to see what's in it.
Does it have a pain killer? If it does, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it's OK for you to take it.
Remember: There can be problems with any medicine, even those you can buy without a prescription.
You may need extra rest when your arthritis gets worse, or flares up. But even then, it's good to gently exercise the joints that hurt.
Gentle exercise can ease the pain and help you sleep better. Ask your doctor how to exercise your joints.
It helps to learn about your arthritis. Many people do this by joining a group with other people who have the disease.
To find a group, look in the newspaper. Or ask your doctor or the hospital. The local Arthritis Foundation office has information, too.
Remember: Never take someone else's medicine.
Some people with arthritis can't find any treatment that helps very much. That's why there are so many ads for gadgets, health foods, and supplements to treat arthritis.
Many of these have never been tested. They're just a waste of money.
Pain and stiffness often come and go by themselves, for no known reason. You may use an untested product and then feel better. But you may have felt better even without the product.
There is no cure for arthritis. But correct treatment can ease pain and stiffness.
If you use worthless products, you delay real help. So the damage gets worse.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true
If all else fails, an operation might help. Talk about this with your doctor
Ask your doctor or other health-care worker.
And ask FDA. There may be an FDA office near you. Look for their number in the blue pages of the phone book.