DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently had a column on arthritis that recommended more activity. So, what medications can help? You didn’t say in your article. I take a slow-release Tylenol, but I heard of a study that says tart cherry pills help. — B.L.
ANSWER: Tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce the risk of gout, a type of arthritis caused by uric acid crystals in the joint, by about 35%. This is specific to gout, however, and has not been shown to be effective, to my knowledge, in the most common type of arthritis: osteoarthritis.
When I mentioned exercise treatment for arthritis, I meant specifically for osteoarthritis. Because exercise improves both function and reduces pain, it’s a critically important treatment and one which is often not recommended strongly enough. Many people worry that exercising on their arthritic joints will worsen the problem. We even used to call osteoarthritis wear-and-tear arthritis, leading people to think they will wear out their joints by exercising. However, most people find that the more they exercise, the less pain they feel when exercising.