Our joints take a lot of abuse over the years.
I’ve had OA in knees and a few other places since I was 38 and I was in shape. But over the years the pain increased more and more and I gained weight so the wear and tear was even greater. The pain was intense plus I also have other bones and joint issues.
OA is a common form of arthritis.
That’s one reason up to half of Americans over 65 have osteoarthritis, and 10 million under age 50 deal with OA . OA develops when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down. This causes pain and stiffness in areas such as the knees, hips and hands, which can make walking, climbing stairs, brushing your teeth and even grasping a doorknob or pen challenging.
Because osteoarthritis has no cure, easing pain is key. But many older adults have difficulty tolerating pain relievers long-term. Fortunately, nondrug treatments work well for many people, with virtually no side effects.
Manage your weight
If you’re overweight, shedding a few pounds (say, five to 10) can help with pain and function. More is better: In a 2018 study in Arthritis Care & Research, people who lost 10 percent of their body weight saw knee pain drop up to 50 percent.
What you eat may also make a difference, says Dominic King, an orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. A diet rich in fatty fish, healthy fats, fruits, green leafy veggies and nuts may help relieve some of the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Exercise may seem like it would cause more pain, but research suggests otherwise.
A 2015 review of 54 studies found that an exercise program was as effective at easing pain and improving function in knee osteoarthritis as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
The U.S. government advises 150 weekly minutes of moderate activity (walking, cycling, swimming), plus muscle-strengthening twice a week. Tai chi or gentle yoga may help. Even chair yoga was found effective in a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
How to start? “If someone’s never really exercised before, talk to your doctor to make sure you are able.
“If you can strengthen the muscles around an arthritic joint through exercise and physical therapy, you can take a load off of that joint,” says NYU orthopedic specialist Claudette Lajam, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Use meds with care
For severe pain, your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, at least to help you get through physical therapy. The NSAID naproxen (Aleve and generic) was ranked most effective for knee osteoarthritis.
But NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems, including bleeding.
In general patients can’t tolerate being on an NSAID for more than two or three weeks before it begins to affect their stomach, if you need longer term pain relief, talk to you doctor.
And if you have had gastric surgery like Bypass , sleeve, balloon, lap band you most likely were told you cannot take NSAIDS
Be cautious with injections
Although steroid injections can temporarily ease inflammation and pain, they may damage the joint and cartilage you can end up with osteonecrosis,
Injections of hyaluronic acid into the knee joint are thought to act like a lubricant. But a 2018 study in JAAOS found they weren’t helpful.
In injections of platelet-rich plasma, platelets are extracted from your blood and reinjected into an affected joint. A 2016 review of six studies in the journal Arthroscopy found that people reported significant pain relief up to 12 months after injection, compared with those given hyaluronic acid. But this experimental treatment can be costly and typically isn’t covered by insurance.
See surgery as a last resort
I had excellent results with PRP platelet rich plasma injections had 2 injections in a year and pain was cut in half and mobility increased as well and I also have osteonecrosis in my knee as well. So talk to your doctor.
Some orthopedic surgeons recommend arthroscopy — where a tiny camera inserted into your knee allows a doctor to repair cartilage tears and remove cartilage fragments — but research shows that it’s no better than exercise therapy. As a result, an international panel of experts recommended against it in 2017.
REMEMBER Always talk to your own doctor before starting anything new.
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