Conservative medical care is the least invasive and often the first approach used in caring for many muscle, ligament, cartilage or joint conditions. It is general in nature and includes any or a combination of the following:
- Rest and avoiding any repetitive activity that may have strained the joint or muscle
- Pain management. Aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can relieve most pain. More powerful drugs may be prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These include anti-malarial agents, gold salts, drugs that suppress your immune system and corticosteroids. An injection of a corticosteroid into the joint can often help.
- Reducing swelling by applying heat or cold to the area
- Physical therapy can help increase your range of motion or strengthen muscles to increase stability on the joint
- Splints or braces that protect a joint from moving
- Devices such as canes or handle extensions that reduce the stress on a joint and make activities of daily living easier.