Joint Pain Medicine in Singapore: Your Path to Relief

Joint Pain Medicine in Singapore: Your Path to Relief

Joint pain refers to discomfort in a joint and is sometimes accompanied by swelling and warmth. It can be a symptom of underlying conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, or muscle pain. Regardless of the cause, joint pain can be extremely bothersome and significantly impair daily activities. Therefore, it is important to manage it effectively.

This is an increasing concern for Singapore, as a growing number of younger Singaporeans are experiencing joint pain in addition to the elderly. According to a 2007 Ministry of Health report, almost 24% of Singaporeans aged 18 to 50 suffer from chronic joint pain, which is a significant increase from 7.4% in 2001.


Causes of Joint Pain

There are many causes of joint pain, each requiring a different management approach. Understanding these causes allows healthcare professionals to curate a medication regimen tailored to your condition. Some common causes of joint pain include:

1. Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of bone and joint cartilage. This condition worsens over time as joint tissues break down. It is the most common type of arthritis and is more prevalent in older people. Besides joint pain, OA typically presents with stiffness, restricted range of motion, and swelling, redness, and warmth due to inflammation.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks its tissues, resulting in joint pain, stiffness, swelling, joint dysfunction, and deformities. RA can also lead to nonspecific systemic symptoms such as fatigue, malaise, and depression.

3. Gout

Gout occurs when uric acid in the blood accumulates and forms uric acid crystals in the joints and tissues, causing inflammation and severe pain. It typically affects the big toes, feet, ankles, or knees. Gout attacks present as episodes of sudden pain in the joint that quickly becomes red, swollen, and painful, with severe joint dysfunction.

4. Bursitis

Bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that functions as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues. Bursae are present in areas such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. Bursitis usually presents with pain, tenderness, restricted motion, swelling, and redness. It is commonly caused by injury or overuse and is also associated with conditions such as arthritis, gout, and tendonitis.

5. Tendonitis

Tendonitis refers to inflammation of the tendons, which are thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. In addition to pain, it is associated with tenderness. It is usually caused by repetitive movements over time, placing constant stress on the tendons. While tendonitis can affect any tendon, it is most common around the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels.


Symptoms of Joint Pain

Acute joint pain may present suddenly and subside quickly. Chronic joint pain and swelling is also possible, affecting the joints, muscles, and bones for a long time. Joint pain may also be associated with other symptoms such as:

  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Limited joint movement
  • Fatigue

Aging Population and Joint Health

Joint health is an increasing concern in Singapore. It is estimated that by 2035, around one-third of Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above. This demographic shift presents its own set of challenges, with joint health being a significant issue.

As people age, the lubricating fluid inside the joints decreases and cartilage thins, causing joint movement to become stiffer and less flexible. Joints can feel stiff due to ligament shortening and loss of flexibility. These age-related joint changes are mostly attributed to a lack of exercise, as inactivity causes the shrinkage and stiffening of cartilage, thereby reducing joint mobility.

Several common joint issues in the elderly include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease

Sports Injuries and Joint Care


Singaporeans adopt an active lifestyle by participating in sports such as football, basketball, badminton, swimming, and running. While engaging in sports helps people stay active and healthy, some sports are considered high-risk for joint injuries.

Sports like football and basketball can cause joint dislocation due to the heavy physical contact and pushing involved. Even low-impact activities such as yoga can lead to joint dislocation if not performed correctly.

Not all sports injuries are the same. Acute injuries are often sudden, resulting from a fall or twist of a joint while chronic injuries often result from repetitive and hence overuse of an area of the body over time. Some common sports-related joint injuries include:

  • ACL tears

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear refers to the overstretching or tearing of the ACL in the knee. The ACL is commonly torn during sports that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, or jumping. These sports include basketball, soccer, football, tennis, and gymnastics.

  • Meniscus injuries

The meniscus is a cartilage located between the tibia (lower leg bone) and the femur (thigh bone). It helps to protect the lower part of the leg from the shock of our body weight. The meniscus can be damaged during activities that cause increased pressure or rotation of the knee joint. A tear is often accompanied by a popping sound around the knee joint.

  • Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff consists of tendons and muscles that hold the shoulder in position. It is crucial for shoulder stability and allows for lifting the arms and reaching upwards.

Rotator cuff injuries, such as tears, are common and increase in incidence with age. However, these injuries can also occur in younger people who repeatedly perform overhead motions or suddenly in cases of falling on an outstretched hand.

  • Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a common condition caused by the overuse of the elbow. It refers to swelling of the tendons that bend the wrist away from the palm.

As its name implies, tennis players often experience this and it is usually caused by the force of the tennis rackets hitting balls in the backhand position, exerting force on the tendons bending the wrist away from the palm.



Care and Medical Treatment

Joint pain can be managed by various effective medications, ranging from Over-The-Counter (OTC) medications to Prescription Only Medications (POM). Glovida-Rx provides a wide range of management options that you can check out. 


Medications for Joint Pain Relief 

Arcoxia (Etoricoxib)

Arcoxia contains the active ingredient, etoricoxib, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it extremely useful in relieving pain and swelling associated with joint injuries and arthritis.


As this is a POM, a doctor has to prescribe this medication for you before you can obtain it from Glovida-Rx. 


As with all medications, Arcoxia also has the propensity to cause some side effects, including but not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the lower extremities
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea 

Allopurinol

Allopurinol is a medication that is used to prevent and treat gout, or gouty arthritis. As gout is a condition that results from excess uric acid build up in the blood, allopurinol is useful in relieving gout as it reduces uric acid production and hence lowers overall uric acid levels in the body. 

Similar to Arcoxia, allopurinol is also a POM and would require a valid prescription from a doctor before it can be dispensed.

Allopurinol may also have some side effects and some common ones include diarrhea and stomach. It is advisable to take it with or after food to reduce stomach upset. 

In addition, allopurinol can very rarely cause severe skin reactions which can be fatal. It is important to stop the medication immediately and contact your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Painful rash that spreads to large areas and blisters
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Flu-like symptoms

Natural Remedies & Supplements for Joint Support

Artrex Double Strength

Available as an OTC product, Artrex DS Tablets For Maintenance Of Healthy Joints & Cartilage is a United States patented and all-natural arthritis medicine that promotes healthy bones and joints. 


Each capsule contains various natural ingredients including Boswellia, Ginger, Turmeric and Winter Cherry, combined to support bone and joint health. It also helps to maintain a healthy cartilage and improves mobility.

The recommended dosage for Artrex DS is two tablets 2 times a day to be taken with meals.


Ultravite Boswellia & Ginger Complex Capsules 

Ultravite Boswellia and Ginger Complex Capsules is a natural supplement consisting of herbs including Boswellia, winter cherry, ginger and turmeric, which are well-established to support joint health. These ingredients have a long history of use as pain-relieving agents in the realm of traditional medicine and are also useful for general body and muscle aches.


The recommended dosage for Ultravite Boswellia and Ginger Complex Capsules is one capsule 2 to 3 times a day to be taken with meals and should be used for at least 4 weeks for optimal results.


Ginflex


Ginflex contains 4 natural plant-based ingredients including Aflapin, ginger, turmeric and winter cherry, which are capable of reducing pain and swelling. It is used for joint and muscle pain relief and possesses several benefits such as improving physical function and reducing joint stiffness.

As Ginflex contains plant-based active ingredients, it makes a suitable option for vegetarians struggling with joint and muscle pain.

The recommended dosage for Ginflex is 1 capsule a day to be taken with meals.

Piascledine

Piascledine 300mg is used to improve joint function and osteoarthritic symptoms such as pain and movement difficulties. It comprises avocado and soybean oil unsaponifiable fractions (ASUs) and is available as a capsule. 

A study has found that ASUs possess anti-inflammatory properties, help protect joints, support tissue growth and repair and may prove to be an effective treatment option for symptomatic osteoarthritis. In addition, ASUs are able to reduce stiffness, provide pain relief as well as actively prevent the progression of osteoarthritis symptoms.

The recommended dosage for Piascledine is 1 capsule a day to be taken with meals.


NC2 Native Collagen II

Collagen is a structural protein present abundantly in the cartilage. Research has shown that native type II collagen inhibits inflammation and tissue catabolism at an articular level, which could explain its use in osteoarthritis. 

Each NC2 Native Collagen II capsule contains 10mg of undenatured native type II collagen and 12mg of vitamin C. These NC2 capsules provide the body with collagen, maintaining cartilage integrity and supporting joint function. In addition, vitamin C contributes to collagen formation to support cartilage function.

The recommended dosage for NC2 is 1 capsule a day to be taken on empty stomach in the morning.


Injections

Supplementary to oral medications and supplements, injections can also be used to manage joint and arthritis pain.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections can be used for people with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. These injections are anti-inflammatory and help reduce inflammation, pain, redness, and swelling in the joint area.

Intra-articular hydrocortisone injections are indicated for inflammatory joint diseases and are usually repeated at three-week intervals. Since steroids are immunosuppressive, intra-articular steroids may cause side effects such as infectious arthritis and cartilage damage. These side effects are infrequent and largely preventable. Contact your healthcare professional to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the risks and benefits before starting steroid injections.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic acid is natural gel-like substance present in the body and is responsible for several functions including:

  • Lubrication: Hyaluronic acid is an important component of synovial fluid, which acts as lubrication and cushion between bones. It prevents the bones from grinding against one another.
  • Cartilage and bone growth: Hyaluronic acid facilitates the movement of cells that are crucial in the formation of joint cavity and bone growth. It also plays an important role in regulating remodeling of bones.
  • Reduction of inflammation: Studies have shown that hyaluronic acid plays a role in the treatment of inflammatory diseases due to its anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anti-proliferative properties.
  •  

    1. Orthovisc® 

    Orthovisc® is an FDA-approved non-avian multi-dose viscosupplement with efficacy lasting up to six months. It is indicated for the treatment of joint pain associated with osteoarthritis by restoring the molecular weight, elasticity, and viscosity of affected joints to levels similar to healthy ones.

    2. Monovisc® 

    Monovisc® is an FDA-approved single injection viscosupplement indicated for knee joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. It is the only non-animal sourced hyaluronic acid single-injection treatment approved for use in the United States and can relieve pain for up to six months.

    Steroid + Hyaluronic Acid Injections – Cingal

    Cingal is an injection that combines a steroid and hyaluronic acid, used for treating osteoarthritic pain. This dual-action injection provides quick, short-term pain relief within days of administration, while also offering prolonged pain relief for up to 6 months.

    Surgical options

    While there are many medications available to treat joint pain, they may not always be sufficient. In such cases, surgical options may be considered. Some surgical options include:

    • Arthroplasty (joint replacement)
    • Osteotomy (bone realignment)
    • Arthrodesis (joint fusion)

    These procedures can be effective in alleviating joint pain and improving joint function.

    Effective Management Strategies

    It is also important to incorporate lifestyle changes into your daily living to improve joint pain. Below are some effective management strategies that can improve and maintain joint health:

    1. Physical therapy

    Embarking on physical therapy sessions with a qualified therapist can help you move safely and effectively. They assess and tailor an exercise plan to enhance flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance, improving overall physical function.

    2. Exercise

    While exercising may sound counterintuitive, especially when your joints are in pain, the right kinds of exercise can improve overall health without harming the joints. Exercising provides great benefits such as helping to strengthen muscles around the joints, maintain bone strength, control weight, and improve mood.

    Strengthening exercises to build muscles include weight training. Aerobic exercises that improve overall fitness, heart and lung health, and help control weight, include walking, bicycling, swimming, and water aerobics.

    Do consult your healthcare professional before embarking on any exercise plan, as their opinion is crucial in assessing the safety of the exercise routine.

    3. Weight Management

    Managing weight can have significant benefits for joint pain. Losing excess weight helps reduce pressure on your joints, ease arthritic pain, and reduce inflammation and disease activity.

    Additionally, weight loss is beneficial for obese individuals with gout, as it helps lower levels of uric acid in the body.

    4. Adequate Rest

    Receiving sufficient good sleep is important for managing chronic conditions like arthritis. It's advisable to exercise during the day so that you feel more tired at night, promoting a more restful sleep.

    If you experience difficulty sleeping or need assistance with sleep, consult a sleep specialist or healthcare professional.

    5. Stress Management

    Chronic stress can lead to gradual deterioration in the body over time. Managing stress can alleviate joint pain associated with wear-and-tear and arthritis. Consider stress management activities such as mindfulness practices, meditation, and yoga.

    6. Smoking Cessation

    Current smokers are advised to quit smoking, as tobacco smoke is linked to the development and worsening of chronic inflammatory joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Consult your healthcare professional or pharmacist for smoking cessation aids and counseling.

    Lifestyle Modifications

    Nutritional tips for joint health

    Nutritional modifications can naturally improve joint health, especially in cases of arthritis-related joint pain. Consider incorporating these anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving foods into your diet:

    • Fish such as salmon and mackerel
    • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower
    • Turmeric
    • Yogurt
    • Ginger
    • Green tea

    Stress management techniques

    Emotional self-care plays a crucial role in improving joint health and managing joint pain. Managing stress is essential, as it can exacerbate symptoms of chronic diseases like arthritis. Some effective stress management techniques include:

    • Meditation
    • Progressive relaxation
    • Guided imagery
    • Deep breathing exercises
    • Regular exercise
    • Confiding in trusted ones

    Conclusion

    Joint pain can be highly bothersome and significantly impact quality of life. The prevalence of many joint conditions increases with age, underscoring the importance of prioritizing and managing joint health from an early age.

    In addition to adopting lifestyle modifications such as healthy eating and regular exercise, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice tailored to your needs.

    Glovida-Rx is a premier online pharmacy that provides complimentary consultations with pharmacists virtually. Feel free to contact our expert pharmacists at +65 8101 5555 to receive a tailored assessment and advice.

     

     

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