New York City based Dr. Mark Pruzansky, a hand surgery and sports injury pioneer, was featured in Focus on Healthy Aging, the monthly newsletter from the world-renowned Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.The article, Coping With Arthritis in Your Hands, looks at self-help strategies and medications you can use to pain and maintain your range-of-motion.
Dr. Pruzansky is an assistant professor of orthopaedics at Mount Sinai so he was asked about the two different types of arthritis that afflict the hand, osteoarthritis (OA) and the less common rheumatoid arthritis (RA):
- Osteoarthritis (OA): Develops due to “wear and tear” that results in a loss of joint cartilage which is the rubbery material covering the ends of the bones.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): This is caused by a faulty immune system that attacks the synovium (the tissue that lines joints).
When it comes to self-help treatments and medication, Dr. Pruzansky offers some advice.
Acupuncture, diet, and herbal supplements that claim to reduce arthritis pain:
“These are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and may reduce the effectiveness of, and interact with, conventional drugs,” says Dr. Pruzansky. “For example, herbal supplements can decrease the effectiveness of RA drugs.”
Splints, exercises, and occupational therapy:
“An occupational therapist also can analyze how you tend to use your hands, and give specifi c advice on ways to reduce stress and increase stamina in weakened joints,” said Dr. Pruzansky.
Over-the-counter medication, NSAIDs, opioids, steroids, cortisone injections:
“Treat these drugs with caution even if you’re taking OTC versions, due to the possible side effects,” Dr. Pruzansky cautions.
Some drugs have side effects like kidney damage and high blood pressure while others can suppress the immune system, for example. And cortisone shots, which can provide several months worth of relief, can’t be used too often because they can weaken the tissue.
Click here to read the full article, Coping With Arthritis in Your Hands.