10 Questions about Arthritis

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Dr. Christina Lasich answers the most popular questions she's ever been asked about arthritis. See if your question is on the list!

How helpful is omega-3?

**Q:** Does omega-3 help prevent osteoarthritis?
**A:** Along with increasing your intake of omega-3, you should also decrease the intake of omega-6\. This re-balancing of the omegas is just one part of the anti-inflammatory diet, a diet that can help prevent osteoarthritis. For more information, I highly recommend Dr. Andrew Weil's book called _Healthy Aging_.

Should I replace my knee?

**Q:** Are there alternatives to knee replacement surgery?
**A:** Cartilage technology has come a very long way. Many types of cartilage-enhancing procedures are being done, such as resurfacing and implantation. In fact, some people actually have cartilage transplantation surgery. A joint preservation specialist is who you need to see if you want to remain active and avoid knee replacement.

How can I strengthen my hip?

Q: What are some exercises I can do for my hip?

A: Typically, the inner thigh muscles become too strong and the butt muscles become too weak. I would direct a physical therapist to give you some exercises that help strengthen the weak hip muscles and stretch/relax the strong hip muscles. Rebalancing the muscles can help improve the alignment of the hip joint, reduce stress on the worn areas and improve joint stability.

Is stem cell regeneration an option?

Q: Is stem cell regeneration an option?

A: Stem cell therapy is still in its infancy. I am only aware of experiments being done in animals. A few things need to be worked out such as treatment timing, frequency and dosage. Scientists also need to learn how to control the local environment around the treatment site in order to maximize the stem cell usefulness.

What can I do while a wait for surgery?

Q: The doctor said that I should postpone hip replacement surgery. How can I get by without surgery?

A: Here are some suggestions: Use trekking poles when you go for walks or consider swimming; start to follow an anti-inflammatory diet plan; and, find a sustainable pace that does not cause flare-ups.

What about using Tylenol with other meds?

Q: Can Tylenol be taken with Celebrex?

A: Yes, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not the same type of medication as celecoxib (Celebrex), even though both are used to treat pain.

What’s trigger finger?

Q: What causes my finger to lock?

A: You most likely have a “trigger finger,” which is caused by the tendons getting stuck in the tunnel in the palm of your hand. Steroid injections can help. Occasionally, surgery is necessary. Try some rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications first because sometimes the swelling that is causing the tendons to get stuck will improve with good care.

Can you get too much cortisone?

Q: How many cortisone injections can I have?

A: If you are a young, active person with many years ahead of you, then you really should not have more than three or four injections into one area in your LIFETIME. If you are an older person near the end of life, then have as many as you would like to maintain your activity level and independence.

What should you do when your thumbs hurt?

Q: Besides surgery, what can I do for my sore thumbs?

A: A couple of tricks can help. Wearing a thumb splint during the day is a useful way to protect and support the joint. Some of the topical anti-inflammatory medications available by prescription are definitely worth a try. If these don’t help, then you’d better see a hand surgeon, because it’s hard to live without the use of your thumbs.

Is there anything I shouldn’t eat?

Q: Which foods cause arthritis?

A: I think a better question is, which foods trigger inflammation? The short answer is sugar, simple carbohydrates (hidden sugar) and too much omega-6. An even better question is, which foods can help relieve the pain and inflammation from arthritis? The short answer: The Anti-Inflammatory Diet.