Osteoarthritis affects the crucially important cartilage that cushions and protects the ends of bones within the joints. It causes this cartilage to break down, so that bone comes to rub against bone inside the joint. Although there is no known permanent cure for Osteoarthritis, there are various relief methods available, some of which have been summarized below:
Use of Prescription Drugs:
These are generally painkillers, drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or new class of NSAIDs, known as COX-2 (cyclooxygenase type 2) inhibitors, may cause fewer stomach side effects than NSAIDs. In cases where osteoarthritis causes severe pain, strong pain medicines including morphine or oxycodone can be prescribed for relief. Keep in mind though, COX-2 drugs along with NSAIDs have very harmful side effects.
Surgical procedures are available as a last resort to relieve pain and increase mobility in osteoarthritis patients. The two common surgical procedures are:
Performed to clean out bone and cartilage fragments that are causing pain and inflammation. More than 650,000 of these procedures are done on osteoarthritic knees each year in the US, and about half of patients report less pain after the procedure.
Arthroplasty (Joint Replacemnt)
This involves the use of artificial (prosthetic) joint implants. Hip replacement is the most established and successful replacement procedure, followed by knee replacement.
can sometimes occur with these procedures, some of which can also be life-threatening.
There is a 1% chance of death within three months of an initial procedure
and a 2.6% risk after a repeat procedure. The risks are highest in the
first three months. Rehabilitation is essential after any of these
Liquid Glucosamine is often used to stimulate new cartilage growth and for connective tissue repair. Glucosamine is naturally made in the body from sugar (glucose) and the amino acid glutamine. It is the main component of the cartilage substance glycosaminoglycans (GAG), which holds water and acts as a shock absorber to joints. Liquid Glucosamine is easily absorbed from the digestive tract, and once inside the cartilage cell, it stimulates new growth if needed. Several studies involving hundreds of patients have found Glucosamine to be helpful in lessening the pain and stiffness of arthritis, and even in the repair of arthritic joints. A safe beginning dose of Glucosamine is 500 mg three times per day or one 1500mg dose in the morning.
Diet and Other Natural Substances:
Other nutrients that have anti-infammatory properties are: Vitamin C (anti-oxidant protection, stimulates cartilage production, helps heal damaged tissues), Vitamin E (anti-oxidant), Vitamin A, B6, Manganese, MSM and niacinamide. Magnesium is useful in bone repair and tissue health, and some products use salicylates (like aspirin) in combination with magnesium for an additive effect. Natural substances such as honey and herbs are also useful.
Exercise is essential in treating people with osteoarthritis. These patients need specific exercises for the joint that is involved: strengthening, range of motion, and flexibility. But even more important, they need general conditioning programs. This includes cardiovascular conditioning or aerobic exercise, as well as strength and flexibility training for the entire body.