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University Health

Arthritis Treatments

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Call University Medicine Associates at 210-644-3204 to request an appointment.
Arthritis Treatments

Exceptional Arthritis Care at University Health

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained rheumatologists treat our patients like they would want to be treated. University Health offers services and specialists to handle all of your arthritis care needs, including an inpatient infusion center. Our specialists work together to coordinate your ongoing care from the moment you walk in for your first appointment.

Our rheumatologists follow evidence-based medicine, offering you the most current treatments available. University Hospital is a teaching hospital partnered with UT Health San Antonio. This gives us the unique opportunity to bring in faculty rheumatologists who are on the leading edge of medical research. All of our rheumatologists have been published and continue to contribute to medical advances in the field of rheumatology.

Non-medicinal options to try at home

  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area, but don’t apply ice directly to the skin
  • Practice moderate exercises, and ask your doctor what exercises are best for you
  • Apply a warm (not hot) compress to the affected area
  • Give your joints a break by resting for 5-10 minutes at a time

Minimally invasive options

Nonsurgical treatment options for arthritis vary depending on what form of arthritis you have. Treatments for osteoarthritis are typically different from treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, for example.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can deal with both pain and inflammation. These medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can be purchased over the counter, but some are prescription only. They come in both oral pill and topical cream or gel form. Tell your doctor if you have risk factors for stomach problems, heart attack or stroke, as the side effects of these medications may further increase your risk.

  • Creams or gels containing menthol or capsaicin

  • If your arthritis is caused by an autoimmune response, your doctor may recommend disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or biologic response modifiers.

  • If your arthritis requires more pain control, your doctor may refer you to pain management team.

  • Corticosteroids, which can be taken by mouth or injected into the joint, can manage inflammation and suppresses the body’s immune response.

  • Physical therapy may help you regain better range of motion so you can perform daily tasks more easily.
    • Strengthening your muscles around the affected joints can also help.
    • A physical therapist may recommend a brace or splint to support your joints.

Surgical options

Surgery may be used to treat severe arthritis when medication and physical therapy can’t control your symptoms.

The most common surgeries we perform are:

  • Arthroscopic surgery uses a tool called an arthroscope to look inside your joints. Your surgeon can repair or remove damaged joint tissues, cartilage and bone to relieve pain.

  • Joint replacement surgery removes a joint and replaces it with a man-made one. The most common joint replacements are hip, knee and shoulder.

Learn more
Find more information about our arthritis services, including what to bring to your appointment.
Doctors
  1. Carlos Lorenzo, MD
    Rheumatology
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  2. Hilda Draeger, MD
    Rheumatology
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  3. Luc Nguyen, MD
    Rheumatology
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