There are more than a hundred different conditions known as arthritis, but all are capable of causing chronic pain. An estimated 48 million Americans can attest that it is often all too difficult to get relief. What are the best treatments for the main varieties of arthritis? How safe are the most common pain medications, and what alternatives exist for stiff, swollen sore joints? Diet and exercise can make a difference for these inflammatory conditions. Listen for the details.

Guest: Joanne Jordan, MD, MPH, is the Herman & Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. She is also Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology and Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. Podcasts can be downloaded for free for six weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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  1. James
    Tampa, Florida

    I find using Alfalfa, 650mg, one TAB daily has helped my Arthritis over the past 8 years. It has NO
    side effects and my PCP does not object. Also no reaction to my Meds. Understand it may help
    kidney, bladder, diabetes, and prostrate problems. Is known to also be a source of minerals and
    vitamins. Why isn’t this Herb listed in listing of Vit/Minerals/Herbs? I am a subscriber and read
    your weekly columns. You have a outstanding program and I enjoy all you and your staff do to
    inform us with the truth through your research.

  2. tm

    Is one brand of turmeric or curcumin better at alleviating arthritis pain? Thanks!! tm
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We don’t know. We do know that the turmeric used in Dr. Goel’s study was BCM-95.

  3. MV

    Are allergies a type of auto-immune disorder? I found it interesting that the guest speaker is the chief of both specialties.
    My 2 sisters and 1 brother all have RA – I do not. But as a child (and to a lesser degree today) I suffered quite a bit from allergies and asthma. I am 60 now and have a touch of osteoarthritis in my knees and osteoporosis. As a child I could not play outside much because of asthma and allergies (very little vitamin D absorption since I wasn’t in the sun and very little exercise as it would sometimes induce an asthma attack) and I was unable to tolerate dairy products (low Calcium consumption)
    Is there a connection? Our mother had arthritis in her back but she also broke her back twice. There is a family history of asthma and breathing disorders.

  4. dave

    Given the variability of the doctors answers to effective treatments (if it works for you, do it), medical science really doesn’t understand arthritis and so can’t really tell how to treat it.

  5. DEF

    I did not find this broadcast very helpful. I have arthritis in both shoulders and facing a shoulder replacement on one. The speaker did not address anything new that could help me.

  6. MG

    I have O negative blood, baker cysts behind both knees which have erupted in the past and for the past 5 years I was taking Etodolac ER 400mg twice daily for knee pain/discomfort. In mid May 2011 I changed my diet (The 17 Day Diet) to eliminate gluten (grains) and most dairy products and three days later I did not see the need to take any more NSAID and have not since.

  7. Kenneth C.

    I have completely pain free shoulders once involved with rotator cuff damage. I had to use both hands to shave and wash until I began using turmeric powder and capsules daily.
    Friends who have hand and other arthritic involved area that have used turmeric also say it is as effective as Celebrex they normally take for pain relief. Some whose hands were deformed by arthritic damage agreed that the pain was relieved but movement was not improved relative to Celebrex. One commented that joints seemed “drier” than needed for easy motion. Perhaps both “meds” would have an
    enhanced effect with optimization of the two agents to have pain free motion and less concern about potential effects of long term use of only the Celebrex.
    The benefit of turmeric is becoming too obvious and, while not easily patented, presents a great opportunity to evolve many products with turmeric as a major player.

  8. fbl

    Many years ago I read some articles about “arthritis” being caused by mycoplasmas which are too tiny to be seen and also so tiny they can go anywhere they want in the body. Apparently the remedy is taking antibiotics long term. One takes one for a period of time and then switch to another type etc. One must follow this regimen for at least a year. The cheap old fashioned antibiotics are used. I thought I’d save the articles but did a quick look and didn’t find them. Lyme disease is another type that is effective with this regimen. Again bugs w/o a cell wall.

  9. AJK

    I too have found that with my osteoarthritis of my thumbs, that it worsens significantly when I consume wheat products. I began to pay attention to this after reading Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book,”Eat Right for Your Blood Type”, in which he suggests that wheat, oats, and other grains are not good for those with “O” blood. I wander how many of your listeners/readers share my blood type of “O” and may like to pay attention to this fact and share that with you. Thanks so much for the wealth of information you bring to me.

  10. JG

    As someone who is experiencing an acute episode of gout, I found it extremely interesting that it is becoming epidemic among baby boomers, who are at the age of becoming afflicted with HTN. And that thiazides, a drug used to treat high B/P, may be a contributing factor in acute cases of gouty arthritis. I will be mentioning this information to my primary care provider next time I talk with her about using a different class of diuretic to treat my HTN. Thank you!

  11. tim

    How long can you safely take ibuprofen without cardiac risk? can you alternate between Ibuprofen Tylenol and aspirin to reduce cardiac risk?

  12. JPC

    I looked forward to this broadcast but I found it wishy-washy… nothing very affirmative that I learned. This is a critical subject to people having crippling arthritis. No mention was made of celebrex. I am turning 80yo and face what my be a wheelchair in the near future. Being hounded by “cure” drugs on the internet I thought I would get one or more solutions to the problem only to find obscurity in what was said.
    I would hope there would be more sessions on arthritis with more than one physician commenting.

  13. s

    In the interview, I heard the doctor make a comment to the caller whose RA responded to antibiotics that I have heard and read many times before – she said perhaps he didn’t really have RA. I completely agree that could be possible. However, given the number of people who are told this when they respond to antibiotics, it would seem there are a lot of misdiagnoses of RA out there that only comes to light once they go on an antibiotic. What happens if you do have something other than RA that would be treated with antibiotics, but you are put on immune suppressing drugs instead?

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