How To Treat Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis.  It is often referred to as the wear and tear arthritis.  It most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands or other joints.  When a person suffers from osteoarthritis the cartilage within the joint starts to break down and this causes the bone to begin to change.  Osteoarthritis usually develops slowly and over time it gets worse.  Those who suffer from this disease experience pain, stiffness and swelling. 
Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis.  However, there are lots of treatments to ease a person’s pain. Here are some of the common treatment options for osteoarthritis.

Non Drug Therapies

  • Exercise – Your joints may hate you in the beginning, but exercise is crucial for people with osteoarthritis.  It is the best way to relieve the pain and decrease the joint damage.  Making sure that you exercise 2.5 hours a week can help reduce pain.
    • Stretching – Stretching can help by increasing flexibility and range of motion.  Some good ways to get in stretching exercises is through yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates.
    • Aerobics – Doing aerobics can help with building stamina and increasing energy levels.  It can also help strengthen your lungs and heart.  Some of the common forms or aerobics are riding a bike, swimming, walking, and running.
    • Strength Training – Strength training can help protect your joints from getting injured.  You can attend a strength training HIIT class or simply do your own strength training classes with light weights or with your own body weight.
  • Weight Loss – Being obese can cause arthritis.  The extra weight can put a lot of stress on your knees, back and hips.  Even if your are marginally overweight, losing some weight can help relieve the stress on your joints.
  • Relax – It is important to find ways to relax.  Reducing stress can help reduce inflammation.  Some ways to relax are reading a book, listening to music, and doing yoga.
  • Control Blood Sugar – It is important to control your sugar intake.  In lots of cases osteoarthritis and diabetes go hand in hand.  If you have one you most likely have the other. If your glucose levels are high, your cartilage gets stiffer and is more likely to break down.  In addition, people with diabetes have more inflammation and this makes cartilage weaker.
  • Herbs/Supplements – There are some herbs and supplements that are good for arthritis.  There are studies that show that herbs and supplements can help reduce pain.  The supplements that are known to help are: Capsaicin, flaxseed, Ginger, Ginkgo, Turmeric, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Glucosamine.


There are several medications that can help relieve your pain and your inflammation. They are:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) – NSAIDs help reduce inflammation and decrease pain.  This is by far the most common and popular medication given for people who suffer from arthritis.  An example of an NSAID is ibuprofen.
  • Corticosteroids (Steroids) – Steroids are very strong medications that help reduce swelling and they suppress the immune system.
  • Counterirritants – Counterirritants comes in cream or ointment form and helps stop pain.  It works by sending signals from the joint to the brain.
  • Analgesics – Analgesics do not reduce inflammation, but they do help relieve pain.


Based on the individuals case of osteoarthritis, surgery may be recommended to relieve osteoarthritis pain.  There are four types of surgeries:

  • Arthoscopy – With the help of a pen-sized flexible tube a physician is able to remove damaged cartilage, bone fragments, and smooth out rough areas.
  • Osteotomy – The aim of this surgery is to add a wedge of bone to realign the arm or leg. This helps remove pressure.
  • Total Joint Replacement – The physician removes the damaged bones and replaces artificial joints.
  • Joint Fusion – The physician uses screws, rods, plates and pins to help fuse two bones together to make one joint.

There may not be a cure for osteoarthritis, but there are a lot of ways to reduce the pain and inflammation.  If you feel like you are suffering from osteoarthritis, make an appointment with your physician to talk about treatment options.


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