Discover Your Best Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Discover Your Best Treatment for Osteoarthritis—August 8, 2012

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage around joints becomes damaged through wear and tear, genetic predisposition or obesity. Although painful, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite activities. Discover the best treatment for osteoarthritis for you, plus lifestyle changes and medications that can help, whether you’re newly diagnosed, in treatment or wondering if you’ll need a caregiver...

If you’ve noticed it’s harder to spring out of bed in the morning, you’re one of millions. Aches, pains and joint stiffness are all osteoarthritis symptoms, and everybody eventually experiences them, says Stephen Paget, M.D., physician-in-chief emeritus, Division of Rheumatology at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Welcome to getting older.

“The traumas of walking around accumulate,” Dr. Paget explains.

Not surprisingly, nearly everyone has some symptoms of osteoarthritis by age 70, and most women over 55 have them.

Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

For joint pain, Paget advises that women take no more than 2,000-3,000 mg of acetaminophen each day or a low dose of 200 mg of NSAIDs 3-4 times a day.

Exercise – guided by a physical therapist – may be more important than medication for osteoarthritis treatment.

A therapist will give you at-home exercises designed to strengthen back and abdominal muscles, which in turn support the spine, says Dr. Paget.

Arthritis sufferers who received 24 acupuncture treatments over 26 weeks had a 40% decrease in pain and a 40% improvement in function, according to a 2004 study of 570 patients with knee osteoarthritis by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.If your joint pain interferes with everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or getting in and out of chairs, your doctor may recommend joint replacement, particularly for hip or knee osteoarthritis.

Sound drastic? It has worked for many.

Ninety to 95% of hip replacements were successful 10 years after surgery, and 80%-85% were still good 20 years after surgery, according to Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, a leading orthopedic institution.

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