Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects a person’s joints, often the knees. It is one of the most common types of arthritis out there. Osteoarthritis is mostly caused by wear and tear on a joint, so it is more common as you age and more likely to affect the joints that you have overused or injured in the past. It can affect any joint, hips, shoulders, wrists, and even the joints in the hands and fingers.
New Treatments For Osteoarthritis!
If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, your health care provider will discuss three major areas of treatment with you. Those are :
✔Activities And Exercises
The first thing that you can do is to get regular exercise, especially doing things that strengthen the muscles that support your joints. Swimming, water aerobics, gentle exercise, and warm water are particularly good for osteoarthritis as they do not put unnecessary stress on joints. Walking is also an excellent exercise for this.
If you feel that the pain is keeping you from being able to exercise, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Physical therapists can teach you exercises that are not painful but will help with strength and flexibility so that you can move more comfortably. If you can not afford or do not have access to a physical therapist, you can ask your doctor to teach you some exercises for your knees. It is important that you do them daily and you have to remember that it may take a few weeks before you see improvement in your knees.
The second thing you need to keep track of is whether you are getting overweight. The extra weight that we carry, puts a great deal of stress on our joints, especially the knees. Every pound you lose can result in thousands of pounds of less stress on your joints over time. So if you are carrying extra weight, your doctor will recommend ways for you to lose some of it.
Finally, your doctor will discuss pain reliefs with you, whether you need medication and what kind is the best for you. Many patients get pain relief from capsaicin skin cream with few or no side effects. Capsaicin creams do not reduce inflammation or swelling but can give some pain relief. If you need more relief, your doctor may prescribe some oral medications, such as acetaminophen which you may know by its brand name Tylenol. It provides most people with pain relief without causing problems or side effects.
If Tylenol is not enough, use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. These are drugs that are not steroids but do act to reduce inflammation. You may be familiar with NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen. NSAIDs are effective at relieving pain and also reducing inflammation and swelling. However, these medications have more risks than Tylenol as they can be hard on the stomach and cause stomach bleeding in some people.
👉Other Treatments You May Know For Osteoarthritis
There are several other kinds of treatment you may (or may not) have heard about.
- Arthroscopic surgery – In this procedure, the surgeon operates on the joint through a small opening in the skin. Although there are many joint conditions that are helped by this surgery, it is not that effective on osteoarthritis.
- Joint lubricant shots – These injections or shots are filled with joint lubricant, a gel-like substance that is injected right into the joint. These shots are not the same as cortisone shots that are sometimes used when your joints get swollen. The lubricant shots are usually given over several weeks. However, this treatment has not been found to be that much effective for osteoarthritis of the knee. Studies found that people receiving these shots did not get much pain relief or improvement in movement. The shots also have the risk of complications, such as infection, swelling, and pain.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin – These two substances are sometimes sold as nutritional supplements instead of as drugs or medications. As they are not sold as drugs, they might not be checked for their quality. The dosage and quality are different between each brand, and sometimes bottles of the same brand are different. There have been some studies looking at whether glucosamine and chondroitin are beneficial for osteoarthritis. In general, most studies have shown that these drugs are not very helpful. Also keep in mind that even though they are not labeled or classified as drugs, they can still have side effects.
To review, the main treatments for osteoarthritis are exercises with possible physical therapy, weight loss if it is needed, and pain relievers. Along with these, your mental status also needs to be sound and healthy because you do not want your pain to take control over you.