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What Are Arthritis Patches?

Arthritis is a medical condition where inflammation affects the joints, or the connection points between two bones. Inflammation can cause pain and swelling, and in some cases, changes in the joint shape. Common symptoms of arthritis include joint stiffness, especially in the morning or with prolonged use of the affected area, widespread continuous discomfort in the joint area, and a general loss of range of motion, or the ability to move joint to the fullest extent. Arthritis patches are just one of many treatment choices to alleviate symptoms.

Osteoarthritis is one of two main types of arthritis. It a condition that is generally caused by normal deterioration as the body ages from habitual usage causing minor progressive damage to the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, the second common type, is a condition in which the body’s immune system — the body’s process of fighting off infections — goes haywire and attacks the joints. This causes the destruction of the ends of the bones and cartilage holding them together, resulting in changes in joint structure. Using arthritis patches can help ease the pain and swelling, but they cannot, however, aid the healing process or change the abnormal formations that may occur as the joint structure becomes altered.

Common treatment for arthritis includes medications such as NSAID’s or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, medications that help reduce both swelling and pain. These drugs, taken orally, can provide several hours of relief, but can produce unwanted side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, chest pain and diarrhea or constipation. Opting for arthritis patches can provide the relief from pain while preventing unnecessary side effects.

Often, arthritis patches contain several pain-relieving methods including the administration of NSAID’s topically, meaning locally to the affected area. Other medications that can be dispensed through arthritis pain patches include lidocaine. Lidocaine is a drug that blocks pain messages and has a numbing effect to reduce pain.

Arthritis patches often include ingredients that can produce a cooling or heating effect. Capsaicin, an element found in cayenne pepper, for example, can deliver a general warming of the area, which can provide relief of pain and stiffness. Menthol and camphor, when added to arthritis patches, offers a cooling sensation, a method often used to soothe the ache and pain related to arthritis.

Though arthritis patches offer fewer side effects than oral medications, care must be taken as they can cause skin irritation. In some cases, allergic reactions can occur including a general redness or the production of hives, raised red welts. Serious cases of an allergic reaction can include swelling of the mouth or tongue, closing of the throat and difficulties breathing.

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