Treatments Available for Osteoarthritis (OA)
Unfortunately, there is no cure available for people who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. However, there are a number of treatments that are available for people with this medical condition. When utilized effectively, these can help maintain better mobility in the joints and reduce their overall level of pain.
Therapy for Osteoarthritis
Physical Therapist: Working with a physical therapist can be an essential part to treating osteoarthritis (OA). Be sure to discuss this with your doctor, as they should be able to refer you to a physical therapist in your local area. They will work with you to create a specific exercise regimen that can help to strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, reduce pain, and increase your range of motion.
Avoid Stress on the Joints: Try developing ways to perform daily activities without putting extra stress on your joints. If you are having difficulties with this, an occupational therapist could help you discover better ways of going about your day without stressing your joints. For instance, a bench in your shower can allow you to take some pressure of that affected knee.
Chronic Pain Class: You could also enroll in a chronic pain class through the Arthritis Foundation and some other medical centers. You can discuss your options with your doctor and check your local area for available classes. Through these chronic pain classes, you will learn skills that will help you to manage your osteoarthritis symptoms. You’ll also be introduced to a community of people with OA that can help and support you in the future.
Braces and Shoe Inserts: Many OA patients find considerable relief from their pain with the help of braces, splints, shoe inserts, and other devices. Some of them will immobilize your joint and others will help take extra pressure of it.
Surgery and Other Procedures at OA
Cortisone Shots: Some patients need to use corticosteroid injections in order to relieve the pain of their symptoms. For this procedure, the doctor will numb the area surrounding the joint, and then they will insert the needle into the space within the joint to inject the medication. Patients are only able to receive a limited number of injections within a single year, because these could actually cause additional joint damage.
Lubrication Injections: Some patients can get injections of hyaluronic acid derivatives (Synvisc, Hyalgan) which may add some cushioning to their osteoarthritic knee. These types of treatments are produced with rooster combs and are quite similar to a compound commonly found in the joint fluid.
Joint Replacement: With this surgical procedure (also known as arthroplasty), the surgeon will remove the surfaces of the joint and replaces these with metal and plastic devices called prostheses. The hip and knee joints are the most commonly replaced joints. The risks that are associated with this surgery include blood clots and infections. Artificial joints can wear out or come loose, and in that case they will need to be replaced.
Realigning Bones: This is a surgical procedure that is known as an osteotomy, during which the surgeon will cut across the bone either below or above the knee joint in order to then realign the patient’s leg. This can help reduce pain in the kneed through shifting body weight off of the the affected area of the knee.
Your doctor can develop a personalized treatment plan for you based on the severity of your condition, your overall health, preferences, and everyday activities. You should speak to your doctor today about designing the best treatment plan for you. Osteoarthritis can be very painful, but it doesn’t have to control your life.