Osteoarthritis: Treatment Options
Part 3 of 3
Treatment of OsteoarthritisEven though there is no cure for osteoarthritis, its symptoms can be treated. Osteoarthritis treatment generally includes the following:
- Pain control. Many different medications can be used to control pain, including corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If NSAIDs do not provide relief to inflamed joints, glucocorticoids (an injection) may be used. For mild pain without inflammation, acetaminophen or aspirin may be used. Non-drug treatments may provide temporary pain relief and include hot/cold therapy, acupuncture and herbal remedies.
- Exercise to improve flexibility and improve muscle strength. Regular exercise can also improve your mood and outlook, decrease pain, improve your heart and blood flow and maintain your weight.
- Weight control. Maintaining an acceptable body weight will help prevent extra stress on weight-bearing joints.
- Spine surgery (in severe cases) may be necessary to relieve chronic pain in damaged joints.
One of the most important things you can do is to take care of yourself and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. People with osteoarthritis can enjoy good health despite having this disease. Research shows that patients who take part in their own care report less pain and make fewer doctor visits. They also enjoy a better quality of life. The best way to start is what you are doing right now – learning as much as you can about osteoarthritis. Talk to your doctor about programs that you can join that are designed to help you manage your condition and develop a healthy lifestyle.