When arthritis affects four or more joints, it is known as polyarticular arthritis. This severe form of arthritis makes movement very painful. Aggressive treatment is needed to reduce pain and inflammation of the affected joints and ease physical activities. Moreover, as this is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the joints, long-term treatment is required to prevent recurrent flare-ups.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used for reducing pain and inflammation. However, these standard pain relief medications are usually not sufficient for alleviating severe polyarticular arthritis flare-ups. Second-line anti-rheumatic drugs or corticosteroids are part of aggressive polyarticular arthritis therapy for rheumatic arthritis. Biologics and disease modifying drugs can also provide relief from polyarticular rheumatoid arthritis that affects multiple joints.
Given the side effects of pharmacological drugs, many polyarticular arthritis patients seek alternative and complementary treatment for arthritis. Alternative treatment can also be used as an adjunct to conventional anti-arthritis drugs.
Treatment Options for Polyarticular Arthritis
The slow and controlled movements of the joints in yoga help to reduce pain and inflammation of the joints. Numerous yoga poses are recommended for treating polyarticular arthritis. The basic yoga movements, which include lifting and rotating the legs, knee, hand and neck movements, help to exercise all the important joints of the body.
The pond pose (tadagasana) is extremely beneficial for reducing arthritis of multiple joints. To do this yoga pose, lie down with your face upwards and your arms crossed around the head. Now slowly bend both the legs to bring the toes near the hips. Stay in this position for a few seconds and then slowly return to the original position. You can even try the different versions of the half wheel pose (ardhachakrasana) to improve joint mobility. In this yoga posture, while lying down with your face upwards and arms crossed above the head, slowly lift your waist.
Tai Chi, a form of martial art of China, strengthens the muscles and the joints and improves joint mobility. It is an effective alternative treatment option for polyarticular arthritis. The slow gentle movements are beneficial for the overall health. It also helps to fight depression and stress that tend to aggravate joint pain. Polyarticular arthritis patients will benefit by practicing tai chi at least for 20 minutes each day.
Acupuncture is a popular alternative therapy for polyarticular arthritis. According to the traditional Chinese system of medicine, arthritis occurs when obstructions in the pathway of the vital energy of the body prevents it from circulating freely in the body.
Unhindered flow of the vital energy treats pain naturally. The goal of acupuncture is to remove the obstacles by inserting needles at specific acupuncture points. Scientists speculate that acupuncture works by stimulating release of chemical that reduce the sensation of pain.
Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements are used for treating degenerative arthritis that affects the body joints. They help to maintain the synovial fluid and the cartilages of the joints of people suffering from osteoarthritis.
Fish oil supplement is recommended for reducing joint inflammation. Fish oil contains anti-inflammatory essential fats called omega-3 fatty acids that work by reducing the abnormal inflammatory activities of the immune system.
A number of medicinal plants with anti-inflammatory compounds such as Boswellia serrata, ginger, turmeric and green tea can alleviate the symptoms of polyarticular arthritis.