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Pain Management Crucial Part of Treatment for Arthritis

Along with conventional remedies, authors examine massage, acupuncture, osteopathy and hypnosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatologists need to appreciate the pain experienced by their patients and learn how to best evaluate and treat it, according to a review article in the December issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, MB, ChB, of Montreal General Hospital in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues examined pain in the context of treating rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions, and addressed the physiologic mechanism of pain, the clinical perspective on pain and approaches to treatment.

As well as pharmacological treatments such as painkillers and adjuvant drugs such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, the authors examined non-pharmacologic measures to manage rheumatoid arthritis-related pain.

Practitioner-administered complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, osteopathy and hypnosis are discussed, as are the benefits of herbal products, diet and exercise to induce production of endogenous opioids and to build muscle tone. Barriers to good pain management include the workload of the rheumatologist, the complexity of patient care and the lack of physician training in this area.

"Pain management is no longer simply a quick fix with a single pill, but rather an approach to the patient as a whole biopsychosocial being. Treatment combinations, not only pharmacologic, are likely to be the preferred choice for physicians in the future," the authors conclude.

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