Lifestyle and Alternative Treatments for osteoarthritis

Treatment for OsteoarthritisEven though there is no definite cure for osteoarthritis, it does not mean the active physical life is over for the patients. There are ways to improve the quality of life. These can be done through some simple adjustments in lifestyle to reduce the load on joints and bones.
One of the key elements in this phase is finding the right mode of exercise.

Expert orthopaedician can suggest many low-impact exercises, which will strengthen the muscles and keep the bones strong. Exercises play an important role in improving joint mobility. But OA patients should stay away from heavy-impact exercises like active sports – be it tennis or basketball. However, golf, yoga, swimming and cycling can be good for joints.

Resorting to heat-and-cold therapy, which is essentially applying warm compresses or cold packs to joints when they are sore or painful, can bring in immediate relief from pain. OA patients are also advised to use assistive devices like braces, splints and canes to ease the load on weak joints. Most importantly, rest the body and give adequate time for sore joints to recover.

 Traditional Treatments

Treatment for osteoarthritis is always based on the personal basis. Though based on some generic guidelines, the exact treatment is decided by the nature of affliction in the particular patient. Factors like person’s lifestyle as well as reasons that trigger pain and soreness need to be taken into consideration before finalising the treatment protocol. A wide range of treatment options is available for OA.
For immediate relief, over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen can be used. But in severe cases, OTC medicines might not be effective and it is always better to be in consultation with an expert orthopaedician.

Corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections can bring down pain locally, but severe and debilitating OA will require surgery. Osteotomy is the option where bone need to be removed.  Osteotomy is also a less-invasive option for people who want to avoid joint replacement surgery. If osteotomy is not working for the patient, the doctor might choose bone fusion (arthrodesis) to treat severely deteriorated joints. A total joint replacement (arthroplasty) is the last resort for the hip and knee joints.

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