A degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition which affects the joints of an individual. This happens because the cartilage protecting the ends of the bone wears out. It estimated around 27 million people in the country suffer from this disorder. It can occur in any joints, but it typically ends up distressing areas like knees, lower back, neck, big toe, etc. This condition is more likely to develop in individuals who are over the age of 65.
Some of the primary symptoms of osteoarthritis are stiffness, discomfort especially after some physical activity and swelling around the affected joints. Initially, these signs may not be that obvious, but they will develop in time and show up suddenly. The pain caused by OA can be extremely uncomfortable as it can disrupt you while performing even the simplest routine chores. Osteoarthritis has no cure. Therefore, it is crucial to receive an accurate diagnosis for this condition and get proper osteoarthritis treatments.
After getting diagnosed with OA, doctors will treat this condition with a combination of medicines. This can comprise oral pills, syrups, topical creams, injections, etc. Some of the most common types of medications used for osteoarthritis treatment are
- NSAIDs Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are designed to relieve symptoms like inflammation and pain. For osteoarthritis, doctors can recommend ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, celecoxib, etc. These can be either prescribed by your specialist or can be bought as an OTC medication.
- Hyaluronic acid This is a type of acid which is naturally produced by the body that helps keep the joints lubricated and acts as a shock absorber as well. When the osteoarthritis occurs, there might not be an adequate quantity of this joint fluid which leads rubbing of bone joints, with ensuing pain and swelling. Doctors can externally inject hyaluronic acid in your joints to minimize the discomfort.
- Analgesics These forms of medications are painkillers, some of them are available via prescription, and some are sold as OTC drugs.
- Corticosteroids These are strong anti-inflammatory medicines which are taken orally or are injected into the affected joints.
It is important to note that medications for osteoarthritis treatment, especially prescription medications must be taken under the supervision of the doctor.
A therapist can also help you manage the condition of OA. Some of their techniques involve ways to correctly use joints, hot and cold therapies, special exercises to improve flexibility and assistive devices to encourage movement such as canes, shoe orthotics, scooters, splints, walkers, etc.
Specialists can use corrective surgery in cases where the symptoms have worsened over time and affected the patient’s mobility.