Arthritis – Osteoarthritis
Conventional Treatment Options
Since there is no cure for ostheoarthritis (OA), most available treatments are aimed at controlling pain and maintaining joint function (Kapoor 2011). If OA pain is unable to be controlled with less invasive measures like physical therapy and exercise, treatment options ranging anywhere from intermittent use of analgesics to total joint replacement surgery are available (Strand 2011).
Physical Therapy/ Exercise
In most cases, ostheoarthritis (OA) treatment should begin with the safest and least invasive therapies (e.g., exercise) (Sinusas 2012). This is because physical activity is associated with significant health benefits among OA patients (e.g., preventing obesity, conserving physical function, and contributing to normal joint health) (Egan 2010).
Exercise programs consisting of muscle strengthening and range-of-motion movements are associated with significant improvements in OA symptoms (Sinusas 2012). Similarly, aerobic activity can reduce pain and disability in people with OA of the knee (Jansen 2011).
In patients who are either unable or unwilling to participate in vigorous exercise, walking for approximately 30 minutes per day, at least 3 days per week, can contribute to a reduction on OA symptoms (Ng 2010).
Pharmacologic Treatment and Other Therapies
Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is usually the first-line pharmacologic therapy in conventional medicine for ostheoarthritis (OA) (Lim 2011; Woodcock 2009). If acetaminophen is unsuccessful, the next pharmacological treatment level varies depending upon patient-specific factors (e.g., treatment success), but usually involves the use of one or more of the following options (Lim 2011; Scheiman 2010; Howes 2011):
- Topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Topical capsaicin
- Oral NSAIDs
- Intra-articular corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections