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Treating OA: 8 Things You Need to Know

Nov 27, 2017

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Over 27 million Americans live with osteoarthritis (OA). If you’re suffering from this degenerative condition, here’s what you need to know about its treatment.

What is OA?

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cushioning cartilage breaks down or deteriorates, causing pain and swelling which interferes with the movement of the joint. Like any arthritis of the spine, osteoarthritis is a progressive disease. As the cartilage wears away, the body protects itself by producing bone spurs. Bone spurs are tiny, smooth protrusions of bone that attempt to create the space between the bones formerly provided by cartilage. In severe degenerative joint disease, the cartilage wears away completely, allowing the bone to rub against bone which causes more pain and additional damage to the joint. While OA is not curable, there are ways to treat its symptoms.

Conservative treatments

Weight loss

Osteoarthritis often occurs alongside co-morbidities including obesity, COPD and hypertension. Losing weight reduces the amount of stress your body puts on your joints, and can also help alleviate issues related to some co-morbidities.

Exercise

Weak muscles put strain on your joints. Aerobic exercise, strength training, walking, water aerobics and slow stretching are all ways to improve your overall health, promote flexibility and care for your joints.

Diet

Inflammation in the body can be irritated or remedied by the foods you eat. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation and some OA symptoms by providing your body with essential vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.

Home Remedies for OA Pain

Hot and cold therapy

You can apply alternating hot and cold compresses to the areas where you experience the most pain to reduce swelling caused by inflammation in your joints.

Useful tools

When you’re living with an inhibited range of motion, there are helpful implements–scooters, walkers, canes, jar openers, steering wheel grips–these are just a few.

Epsom salt bath

Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts can help reduce inflammation and relieve milder pain symptoms.

OTC Medicine

Pain relievers such as Tylenol and NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium) can temporarily relieve inflammation and pain. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of long-term NSAID use.

Surgical Treatments for Severe Joint Damage

Before surgery is recommended, you may consider consulting a physical therapist as well as a board-certified orthopedist. In some cases, steroid injections can be helpful, but once the damage reaches a critical point, surgery may be indicated. OA affects the hips, knees, and facet joints in the lower back and can degenerate lumbar discs. If you’re looking for a board-certified spine specialist or orthopedist near you, call us today at 1.844.201.1308. We can match you with an expert provider who can provide the quality care you deserve, as well as offer you a no cost MRI review.



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