Family Circle Magazine—April 1, 2010
Initially, over-the-counter remedies may help. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil and Motrin are best for alleviating swelling, inflammation, and pain, while analgesics like Tylenol provide pain relief. But if you rely on these every day or have to take the maximum allowed dosage in order to function, or if you have symptoms for more than six weeks, make an appointment with a primary care physician or a specialist like a rheumatologist, advises Dr. Mandl. The doctor should inquire about a family history of the disease (many forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, have genetic links) before making a diagnosis. "Certain blood tests, like the one for rheumatoid factor, can help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis," says Dr. Mandl. Currently there isn't a test for osteoarthritis, but X-rays can help with a diagnosis.