Taking the ouch out of arthritis
By Joseph Hanna
When the weight-bearing joints are
a;ected, weight reduction and exercise can be
quite helpful. Physiotherapy, orthotics, elec-
trical nerve stimulation and laser therapy can
also help some people.
Many over-the-counter options are avail-
able. ;ere are a variety of creams or gels that
can be rubbed directly on the joint for relief.
These contain heating agents, hot pepper
derivatives or anti-in;ammatory ingredients.
While acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen
are not new, naproxen recently became avail-
able as a non-prescription medication under
the brand name Aleve.® Glucosamine has
shown some promise in helping to rebuild
lost cartilage. Other natural remedies, such as
chondroitin, devil’s claw and methylsulfonyl-
methane (MSM), may be e;ective for some.
With all of these medications, it is impor-
tant to remember that regular use at the right
dose can make the di;erence between having
pain and not having pain. Each medication
has its own pros and cons, so make sure to ask
a pharmacist before picking one.
If these don’t provide adequate relief, prescription anti-in;ammatories or analgesics,
corticosteroids or synthetic versions of joint
;uid injected directly into the joint, or even surgery to replace the joint are o;en last resorts.
IF YOU HAVE EVER been given the impression that you need to put up with pain just
because a date on a calendar suggests that you
are getting up there in years, it’s time to kick
that common misconception to the curb.
While the word arthritis literally translates to
“swollen joints,” it actually is an umbrella term
that refers to more than two dozen disorders
that can involve just one joint, such as osteoarthritis (OA), or even the entire body, such
as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here are a few
questions to ask yourself.
What most likely applies to me?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type
of arthritis, and a;ects about 10 per cent of
Canadians. While it o;en develops a;er age 45
and contributes to the aches and pains of getting older, it can be quite manageable given the
right treatment regimen. OA o;en causes prolonged sti;ness, pain or swelling in the joints
that carry most of the body’s weight, such as
knees, hips, spine or feet, but also a;ects the
hands or any previously injured joint.
Each of the more than 100 joints in the
human body is made up of two cartilage-covered bone ends, supporting ligaments and
shock-absorbing fluid. The trouble in OA
happens when the cartilage begins to break
down for unknown reasons, but it is aggravated by excess weight, some form of injury or
an inherited improper ;tting of bones together,
which results in the bones rubbing against each
other and causing pain. Those who have
experienced it can attest to how unpleasant this
can be and how it sometimes prevents them
from engaging in everyday activities.
How can I learn more?
This September, for National Arthritis
Month, Costco Pharmacy is hosting an
Arthritis Clinic in every location. A trained
health-care professional will work with your
Costco pharmacist to help you manage arthritis pain and address any questions you have
about over-the-counter—such as Voltaren
Emulgel, Kirkland Signature™ Glucosamine
Sulfate or Glucosamine, Chondroitin and
MSM and Kirkland Signature Arthritis &
Ibuprofen—or prescription medications.
Check your local Costco Pharmacy for clinic
times and dates, or go to Costco.ca and visit
the Costco Pharmacy
website under the
pharmacist for Relieves:
joint and arthritis pain
How can I treat my arthritis?
backache and muscle pain
While the bad news is that there currently
is no known cure, the good news is that you
don’t have to automatically accept the pain.
Depending on the severity of the arthritis, a
regimen that involves simple activities as well
as medication can reduce much of the pain.
“Health” tab for the full
schedule of clinics near
Joseph Hanna, B.Sc. Phm,
CDE, CGP, is a Costco
Costco does not operate pharmacies or provide pharmacy
services in the Province of Quebec. Pharmacies are independently owned and operated in the Province of Quebec.