Several medications can be used to manage pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. These may include over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as prescription-strength medications. A pain specialist can work with you to develop a medication strategy for your needs and preferences.
Physical therapy is a commonly used intervention for osteoarthritis, as it focuses on improving strength, flexibility, and range of motion in affected joints. A physical therapist will develop a personalized exercise plan for the individual with osteoarthritis, taking into account the specific joint affected and the severity of the condition. The exercises may include low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling, as well as targeted strengthening exercises for the affected joint.
The physiotherapist may also use manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization or soft tissue mobilization to improve joint function and reduce pain. In some cases, they may also recommend the use of assistive devices such as braces or orthotics to provide support for the affected joint and reduce stress on the joint during activities of daily living.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a type of rehabilitation that focuses on helping individuals with osteoarthritis to perform daily activities and maintain independence. An occupational therapist may evaluate a person's home and work environment to identify modifications that can be made to improve function and reduce pain. They may also provide assistive devices, such as braces or splints, to support affected joints and decrease stress on them. The therapist may also teach exercises to improve joint range of motion and strength, as well as adaptive techniques to help with tasks such as dressing, grooming, and cooking. Overall, occupational therapy aims to help individuals with osteoarthritis manage their symptoms and maintain a high quality of life.
Nutrition can play a significant role in managing osteoarthritis. A nutritionist can work with individuals with osteoarthritis to create a personalized diet and supplementation plan. They may also provide guidance on weight management, as excess weight puts additional stress on joints and can worsen osteoarthritis symptoms.
This procedure involves injecting a corticosteroid medication into the affected joint to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. It can provide relief for several weeks to several months, but repeated injections may lead to joint damage.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Also known as viscosupplementation, this procedure involves injecting hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in joints, into the affected joint. It acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, helping to reduce pain and improve joint function. The effects can last up to six months.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
This procedure involves drawing a small amount of the patient's blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and injecting it into the affected joint. The platelets contain growth factors that can stimulate tissue repair and reduce inflammation, leading to pain relief and improved function.
Nerve Block Injections
This procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic and/or steroid medication around the affected nerves to help block pain signals from reaching the brain. It can provide temporary relief from pain and can be used to help diagnose the source of pain.