Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease, affecting up to 5% of the population.
Osteoarthritis can lead to disability, pain, and decreased quality of life. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. There are a number of treatment options available but they can be challenging to use and may not always be effective. Here are the main treatment options available for osteoarthritis:
- Non-medication options
These are treatments which do not involve the use of drugs. These include:
- Physical therapy, such as exercise, manual therapy and interments.
- Exercise, such as swimming, walking and improving physical fitness.
- Self-care programmes, such as regular exercises for the hands or foot’s joints.
- Drug treatment options
These are options for osteoarthritis treatment brampton which involve the use of medicine to relieve pain or other side effects caused by osteoarthritis.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs)
Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. Due to the prevalence of side effects, they are generally used only temporarily. Side effects include damage to the stomach lining and the kidneys.
- Acetaminophen (paracetamol)
When used in combination with an NSAID, it may reduce pain in osteoarthritis and it does not cause stomach problems.
- Topical medications
These are creams, ointments and gels which are applied externally to the joint area. (eg. Capsaicin, Duloxetine, Local steroid injections)
- Oral painkillers
These drugs include anti-inflammatory medications and opioids.
Anti-inflammatory drugs may be suggested if the cause of pain is linked to inflammation, such as in osteoarthritis. They include corticosteroids and gold injections.
Opioids are strong painkillers which affect the central nervous system. They have many side effects including difficulty breathing, nausea and constipation.
- Higher levels of treatments
These include more powerful medications such as intra-articular injections, steroids, NSAIDs and hyaluronic acid injections.
Intra-articular injections are used for mild to moderate pain relief for osteoarthritis of the knees or hips. They are given directly into the joint under local anaesthetic. Steroids are used to ease pain in osteoarthritis. They can be given as tablets, creams or patches.
NSAIDs, such as paracetamol, may be helpful for mild osteoarthritis pain and inflammation. Side effects include damage to the stomach lining and the kidneys.
Hyaluronic acid injections are used for arthritis of the knees and hips. It is injected into the joint under a local anaesthetic.
Surgery may be an option if the medication is not effective. It involves removing the damaged part of the joint, such as a diseased knee or hip. This may give long-lasting pain relief from osteoarthritis. However, surgery may only be recommended in severe cases and there are risks of complications such as infection, blood clots and problems with the wound healing.