With so many people across all demographics being affected by arthritis every day, research into the disorder is extensive. Those who suffer from the symptoms of arthritis use a variety of treatments that range from mainstream medications to natural remedies and physical therapy. Surgery is also sometimes prescribed by doctors for patients with chronic and debilitating pain resulting from the disorder. Each of these treatments claim a range of effectiveness based on the type of arthritis and its severity, but with the disorder laying claim to title of the most common physical disability in the United States, the question remains—can arthritis be cured?
The State of the Research
Based on current research, the answer to the question of whether arthritis can be cured may be a complex one. Because arthritis is so often the result of age-related wear and tear on the body, some consider the idea of a “cure” to be misguided. Arthritis is a disorder defined by its primary symptom – pain – and most research into the disease is geared toward finding a way to alleviate that pain for patients. Others work toward identifying and treating the disorder early to delay or prevent its degenerative effects.
Current Treatments Don’t Cure Arthritis
Most OA treatments deal with pain management. For RA, treatment is focused on the autoimmune nature of the disease. Anti-rheumatic drugs can be used in conjunction with pain-limiting medications to slow the development of arthritis.
Surgery is another option for those who suffer from arthritis in their joints. In many cases, surgery immediately reduces pain in affected joints of patients. However, researchers have not found conclusive evidence that operations can stop the further deterioration of the joints upon which doctors operate. Essentially, patients get a reprieve from the effects of the disorder until their joints deteriorate further, requiring more treatment. While this can be an effective way of increasing a patient’s activity, it’s not a long-term solution to curing arthritis.
Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce the Risk of Arthritis
But what about avoiding arthritis altogether? Unfortunately, factors like age, genetics and gender are outside of your control. Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing the disorder, and alleviate symptoms, but they can’t cure arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight is an effective way to take stress off joints, and stretching when exercising can help prolong the health of those joints as well. Taking careful measures to avoid injury can also prevent arthritis from developing as preventing injuries goes a long way in reducing stress and wear and tear on the joints.
So, can arthritis be cured? Unfortunately, arthritis remains an ailment without a known cure. But science is always actively seeking new ways to treat and manage arthritis, and the quality of life of those who live with it.