Though, arthritis exist in various forms, the most common of all forms is osteoarthritis. As one proceeds towards old age and gets heavier due to sedentary routine, one becomes more prone to stiff, sore and swollen joints. Osteoarthritis is inflammation of bone joints, leading to painful signals from the body as a result of swollen joints.
In a few cases, pain may not appear in spite of inflammation, but over time, the joints get deteriorate due to chronic inflammation. Around 27 million people suffer from joint pain due to osteoarthritis and there is still no cure for the disease.
Recommended Treatments for Osteoarthritis
Those afflicted with the disease, need to relieve themself from pain and regain joint movement. There are many medications and therapies to do so. Those without major pain signal should get treated without a delay, to prevent early osteoarthritis development into severe stage.
Mild Moderate Pain
Make use of acetaminophen drugs that aid to relieve pain alone with no role in inflammation cure, like Tylenol. This is advantageous for ones with early osteoarthritis having infrequent joint pains. Avoid high consumption of acetaminophen as it then may lead to liver damage.
Topical analgesics (pain relieving creams) can also be used over the skin area of painful joints, to relieve early osteoarthritis problems. These can be used simultaneously with oral medications like salicin, menthol, methyl salicylate and capsaicin but should never be combined with any heat treatments, as the combination may cause extreme heat or burns.
Severe Osteoarthritis Pain
Narcotics are prescribed to get relief from severe, unbearable joint pains. These strong medications do carry small risk of getting dependent on them as these are addictive in nature. Side effects of these include constipation, nausea and sleepiness.
Inflammation and Pain
NSAIDs help to lower down inflammation and pain and are easily available OTC like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Stronger NSAIDs are also available but only on prescription by the doctor. The risk of NSAIDs includes bleeding problems, stomach upset, false ringing in ears, liver or kidney damage and cardiovascular problems.
Exercises and Physical Therapy
Physical therapist will develop an individualized exercise regimen to strengthen joint muscles, increase mobility and, reduce pain and joint stiffness. Exercise is considered as the most effective non medicated treatment for improving mobility among osteoarthritic patients.
Use of Medical Devices
Medical devices help to support or immobilize the painful and inflamed joint by keeping off the pressure. Consider using braces, splints and shoe inserts, in accordance to the joint afflicted with the disease.
Join Chronic Pain Class
Many arthritic centres have established classes for osteoarthritic patients with chronic pain. The classes guide people to manage the pain in much better way, with help of tricks and tips tested by others. One tends to meet so many people with the same disease and successful experiences of each one become helpful guidance for the rest.
Corticosteroid injections are given to patients to relieve joint pain. The doctor will first numb the area surrounding the effected joint and then inject a needle within the joint space. The numbers of shots that need to be received are limited, since; overuse may cause damage to joints.
Viscosupplementation (Hyaluronic Acid Therapy)
In osteoarthritic people, the shock absorber and natural lubricant, hyaluronic acid gets decreased. Therefore, lubricating injections of hyaluronic acid derivatives are employed to offer relief from pain, by cushioning the knee. Viscosupplementation involve components similar to natural cushioning substance found in the joint fluid that restore lubrication in between the joints. Side effects are normally mild and only include swelling or pain at the injection site.
Under a surgical procedure, termed as Osteotomy, the bone is cut across, above or below the knee by a surgeon. The surgery involving realignment of bones reduces knee pain, by enabling the body weight to shift far from the worn out knees. It is useful for persons with osteoarthritis of the knees.
Arthoplasty is defined as the joint replacement surgery, where damaged joint regions are replaced with metal or plastic devices called prostheses. Most commonly replaced joints are that of knees and hips. It involves surgical risks of blood clots and infections. Moreover, the artificial joints may get loosen or worn out with usage and then need to be replaced with new ones.