Arthritis pain affects more than 86 million people every year. Adults, teenagers and even children can be affected. If you think you have one or more forms of arthritis, here are some questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment.
* At least 100 different diseases that fall under the name "arthritis", so which one do I have?
It may seem like a silly question, but the treatment can be drastically different depending on the type of arthritis you have.
* What is the best medicine for the type of arthritis I have?
Doctors can treat mild osteoarthritis with over-the-counter medications, while rheumatoid arthritis requires a prescription to lessen the effects of the disease.
* How does my family history or personal medical history affect the medications I can take?
Your doctor should ask for a complete family medical history in addition to your own to make sure there is nothing wrong with the medications they are trying to prescribe.
* Is this medication safe to take daily?
Likewise, you'll want to ask if you need to take the drug for a long time. Some medications can be taken for a short time and still be effective. Others may require you to use them longer to get the maximum benefit.
* How long will it take to see an improvement in my arthritis symptoms?
Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may see an improvement in your pain in as little as a week. With other medications, it may take longer to see an improvement.
* Should I be concerned about the interaction of this treatment with other medications I am currently taking?
Drug interactions can have serious consequences, so it's imperative that you tell your doctor about every prescription you have, over-the-counter medications you take, and all herbal remedies you use.
* If the prescription has potential side effects, can I do anything to reduce the likelihood of them occurring?
If you've ever read the paperwork that comes with a prescription, you know that some of the side effects can be worse than the condition you're taking the drug for. By asking your doctor about side effects and reducing your risk, your doctor will know that you are aware and knowledgeable about your condition.
* Are there other options I can use to reduce the pain without having to take painkillers?
What are my risks if I choose not to go that route and instead use a "natural" method to treat my arthritis? Most doctors will try to get you to use the form of treatment they are most familiar with and will prescribe most often. Remember this is your body and you have the right to refuse treatment if you feel there is something better available.
Take the time to research the different types of arthritis and possible treatments so you can discuss matters with your doctor in an informed manner. The inflammation and pain of arthritis can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.
Getting the advice of a licensed professional, whether you choose a traditional doctor or a naturopathic doctor, is your best bet in finding out if you have arthritis and what treatments are available. If a doctor diagnoses you with arthritis, do your best to learn all you can, and seek a second opinion if you feel uncomfortable with the prescribed course of action.