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There are many things that help reduce pain, relieve stiffness and keep you moving. Your care may involve more than one kind of treatment. Your doctor may recommend medications, but there are many things you can do on your own to help manage pain and fatigue to move easier.
Finding the right treatment takes time. It can involve trial and error until you and your healthcare team or therapist find what works best. Be sure to let your doctor know if a treatment is not working. Your treatment may also change as your arthritis changes.
Treatments for arthritis can be divided into several categories: medication, exercise, heat/cold, pacing, joint protection, surgery, and self-help skills. You can do things in each of these areas to help yourself feel better and move easier.
Your doctor (usually your family practitioner or an internist) diagnoses arthritis based on a physical examination of your joints, and any symptoms you've experienced. When your joints are inflamed or damaged, you need to take certain precautions as you do all your daily activities. Your doctor or therapist can teach you exercises and the correct use of heat and cold to decrease pain. You can also learn how to use your body with the least stress to your joints for less pain, easier movement, and even more energy.
It's important to find out if you have arthritis and what type it is because treatments vary for each type. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to help slow or prevent joint damage that can occur during the first few years for several types.
Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis and what type it is.