Treatments for this common cause of pain range from physical therapy to surgery.
Researchers say a combination of medication and non-drug treatments is ideal for treating arthritis. For instance, The U.S. National Library of Medicine says acetaminophen (up to 4 grams per day) is an effective initial treatment for arthritis pain. Add physical therapy for exercises to reduce pain further and improve mobility.
Here are other options:
- Education and self-management: This education program helps patients build their own plans to manage arthritis.
- Exercise: Aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and water-based exercises all work to ease pain and promote strength and mobility.
- Weight loss: Maintain an ideal weight to ease joint pressure.
- Walking aids, braces, and insoles: Reduce pain, improve stability, and improve walking.
- Heat and cold: Soak in a warm bath, apply cold packs, or alternate the two to relieve pain.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: This controls pain by transmitting a weak electric current through the skin.
- Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese medicine that relieves pain by stimulating points on the body with thin needles.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Use the lowest effective dosage short-term to avoid cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.
- Topical analgesics: These are ok to use along with or instead of ones usually taken orally.
- Corticosteroid injections: Relieve moderate to severe pain and inflammation that doesn’t respond to oral pain relievers.
- Hyalruonic acid injections: Alleviate pain by supplementing a natural substance that makes joint fluid viscous.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements: One or both may ease pain.
- Weak opioids and narcotic analgesics: Recommended only for those who cannot tolerate other medications.
- Osteotomy: Best for young, active people, this procedure cuts bones to shift weight away from the damaged part of the joint.
- Unicompartmental (or partial) knee replacement: Offers a better range of motion when arthritis affects a small area of a joint.
- Joint replacement surgery: Replaces the joint with a prosthesis.
To learn more about available treatment options, St. Petersburg General Hospital is offering a free seminar called “Hips, Knees, Joints OH MY!!!” on Friday, April 19. To register, please call 1-888-741-5122.