Treatment of osteoarthritis
There is no treatment that can cure osteoarthritis , but it can help reduce pain and maintain joint mobility.
Some osteoarthritis sufferers have no pain or only experience mild discomfort, so they may be able to go without treatment.
Others may benefit greatly from conservative measures such as rest, exercise, weight loss, physical and occupational therapy to learn how to use tools and bandages.
These tools are especially important when weight-bearing joints are involved, such as the hips and knees.
Lifestyle habits with osteoarthritis
Cold applications can take place in the acute phase, ie in the first two days after the onset of pain, or in the post-acute phase to reduce muscle spasms.
Heat relieves pain and joint stiffness .
The use of assistive devices can make everyday activities easier.
A walking stick can take the weight off your knee or hip.
With arthrosis of the finger joints, various kitchen appliances can simplify kitchen work. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can help you choose the right equipment.
Osteoarthritis sufferers should first try nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Studies show that these products have been able to reduce pain and stiffness in some osteoarthritis patients.
Paracetamol (Ben-u-ron) reduces pain but does not have an anti-inflammatory effect. Studies have proven that it is effective in osteoarthritis patients with mild to moderate pain. Exceeding the recommended dose can cause liver damage.
The so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , NSAIDs for short, inhibit inflammation and relieve pain. The most commonly used are ibuprofen and naproxen (Aleve).
NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation, cardiovascular problems, bleeding , liver and kidney damage.
The risk of complications is greater in older people.
Narcotics are prescription drugs; they usually contain substances like codeine and can provide relief in severe cases of osteoarthritis.
It is rare for the doctor to prescribe this type of drug because the risk of addiction is very high, even if it seems the lesser evil when the pain is severe.
Possible side effects include nausea , constipation , and fatigue .
Physiotherapy for osteoarthritis
An exercise program designed by the physical therapist must be followed to strengthen the muscles of the affected joint, increase range of motion, and reduce pain.
Physiotherapy can be of great benefit before the cartilage is completely worn away, because it reduces inflammation of the synovial membrane ; Magnetic therapy for the knee and laser therapy for the hand are particularly effective .
Lifestyle habits must be changed to avoid overloading the joints.
There must be a way to carry out daily activities that does not put stress on the joints.
An occupational therapist can work with the patient to develop economical movement sequences in everyday life that do not burden the inflamed joint. For example, if you have osteoarthritis in your finger joints, using a wide-handled toothbrush can help ease the pain of brushing your teeth.
In the case of knee osteoarthritis, a chair in the shower cubicle can significantly reduce the pain that occurs when standing up when showering.
Try bandages and insoles . You should definitely consider using splints, bandages, insoles, walking sticks and other aids because they can relieve the joints considerably.
These devices can help relieve pain because they immobilize, protect, and support the joint while relieving pressure.
If painkillers are of no use to you, you should seek help from alternative and complementary medicine. Acupuncture shows good results.
Some studies show that acupuncture reduces pain and improves the functionality of the osteoarthritis knee.
In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted into the skin at specific points on the body.
Risks: infection , bruising and pain at the needle insertion point.
Medical therapy for osteoarthritis
Cortisone injections can relieve joint pain.
The doctor inserts a needle into the interior of the joint and injects the drug directly there.
Only a limited number of cortisone injections can be given in a year, usually up to three, because the active ingredients can cause joint damage.
Hyaluronic acid injections are used for severe and permanent arthrosis pain in the knee or hip.
If the pain does not subside despite weight loss, regular sports activities and medication, hyaluronic acid injections (Hyalgan, Hyalart, etc.) can be injected into the joint.
In many cases, these injections are very effective, especially if the patient does not want to have an operation.
These products restore the condition of the synovial fluid in the short term, improving joint lubrication and increasing the cushioning effect to absorb shock; in addition, a direct effect on the pain receptors is conceivable.
A surgical procedure used in surgery is to correct a misaligned bone. The procedure is called an osteotomy.
The surgeon makes a targeted cut through the bone or- and below the knee to correct the leg alignment. The osteotomy reduces pain in the knee joint by shifting body weight to the less worn part of the knee.
Chondroplasty is the surgical repair of cartilage.
In surgery, when inserting an artificial joint (arthroplasty), the damaged joint surfaces are removed and replaced with a plastic and metal prosthesis. Hip and knee joints are most commonly replaced. The surgical risks are infection and blood clots.
The artificial joints can wear out or become loose and after a few years replacement may be necessary.
What is the outlook for osteoarthritis patients?
The prognosis for osteoarthritis patients depends very much on which joint is affected and whether this disease is the cause of the symptoms and functional impairment.
Some patients are in no way restricted by osteoarthritis, while others become practically disabled.
The surgical procedure to insert an artificial joint shows good results in the long term.
With arthrosis, there is no need to worry about damage to the internal organs, and the blood values are not affected either.
Preventing osteoarthritis – is that possible?
There are no preventative measures for osteoarthritis, but controlling your weight and being physically active can delay the onset of symptoms.