Treatment Options For Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Ooltewah, TN

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition in which the joints become worn down, stiff, and painful. There are many treatment options for osteoarthritis, including medications, therapy, injections, and surgery. Read on to learn more about the benefits of each option.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that results from the breakdown of cartilage and its surrounding tissue. Cartilage is the smooth, rubbery substance that covers and cushions joints in the body. Losing this protective layer causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected area. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint of the body but most commonly affects the hands, knees, and hips.

Patients may be at risk for osteoarthritis if they are:

  • Over the age of 50
  • A family history of arthritis
  • Obesity or high body mass index (BMI)
  • Have high cholesterol or diabetes (especially type 2)
  • Subject the joints to repeated stress, such as sports or even texting

Five ways to relieve osteoarthritis

Medications

Medications for osteoarthritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. NSAIDs are effective at reducing pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Some of the most popular medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac sodium (Voltaren Gel), and indomethacin. Those experiencing mild to moderate pain symptoms can also use acetaminophen drugs such as Tylenol to help them work through the day.

Though popular, these drugs should not be taken by people with stomach ulcers or who are pregnant, as this can cause serious side effects. Note NSAIDs should not be used with alcohol or certain other medications due to potentially dangerous interactions between them on the patient’s kidneys’ ability to remove waste from blood circulation. When selecting an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, read the label to ensure proper usage or consult a medical professional.

Therapy

Doctors may recommend multiple forms of therapy to help patients manage their osteoarthritis symptoms, including physical, occupational, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Physical therapy can help patients manage their pain, improve their mobility and strength, balance and endurance, and prevent further loss of flexibility. Physical therapists may use manual techniques such as massage or joint manipulation, modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation, and exercise therapy. Physical therapists may also combine non-traditional therapies such as acupuncture, taping (bracing), and dry needling.

Occupational therapists will train the patient in using assistive devices, traction (when pressure is applied to the bone), and graded exercise programs, as well as educate them on proper posture and body mechanics to prevent pain around the joints and increase mobility.

TENS is a treatment that uses a small number of electric currents to stimulate nerves. It sends mild electrical impulses through the skin and into underlying muscles, which blocks pain signals from being transmitted to the brain, reducing or relieving osteoarthritis symptoms.

Injections

Patients can receive two types of injections: cortisone or lubrication. Cortisone (a steroid) is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. They are effective in relieving pain and inflammation but can also cause side effects such as weight gain and high blood pressure. Therefore, cortisone injections should only be used for short-term relief, and patients should avoid this treatment if they are allergic or sensitive to corticosteroids.

Lubrication injections reduce pain and swelling by reducing friction between joint surfaces, increasing joint space, and improving blood supply to damaged tissues. A medical professional will typically give patients these injections in the knee, hip, or shoulder.

Realigning bones in the joint

A doctor can realign bones in the joint by using a needle and injecting a substance into the joint. The procedure relieves pain and swelling, improves movement, and allows the patient to return to normal activities quickly after the procedure. It is possible to combine realignment with other treatment options, such as surgery, physical therapy, or medication, for optimum results. 

Surgery

If a patient has severe osteoarthritis, the doctor may suggest they undergo joint replacement surgery. Joint replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces the ends of bones with artificial parts. It can be done on the knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow joints. In many cases of osteoarthritis, these joints are worn out and no longer work properly because they are damaged or have developed a cyst (a sac-like growth). Doctors typically recommend surgery when symptoms such as pain and stiffness become severe enough to interfere with daily activities, and other treatment options offer little to no effect.

Schedule a consultation today

If you have osteoarthritis, treatment can differ based on the severity of your condition. Therefore, speaking about the different treatment options is important before settling on one. To learn more about our treatment services, call our office to schedule an appointment. We can customize a plan based on your needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more about your available options, we invite you to call our Ooltewah office at {{PHONE}} and request an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you.

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