Surgery as an Arthritis Treatment OptionIn certain people with arthritis, surgery may be necessary. For example, the surgeon may perform an operation to remove the synovium (synovectomy); realign the joint (osteotomy); or, in advanced cases, replace the damaged joint with an artificial one (arthroplasty).
Total knee replacement and hip replacement have provided not only dramatic relief of pain, but also improvement in motion for many people with arthritis (see Hip Replacement or Knee Replacement).
Alternative Treatments for ArthritisMany people seek other ways of treating their arthritis, such as special diets or supplements. These methods may not be harmful in and of themselves. However, to date, research has shown only a few of these alternative treatments to actually be helpful. For example, acupuncture has been shown to help relieve arthritis pain in people with knee osteoarthritis (see Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis). On the other hand, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, two natural substances found in and around cartilage cells, were not shown to be effective for pain relief.
Some alternative or complementary approaches may help you to cope with or reduce some of the stress of living with a chronic illness. It is important to inform your doctor if you are using alternative therapies. If the doctor feels the approach has value and will not harm you, it can be incorporated into your treatment plan. However, it is important not to neglect your regular healthcare or treatment of serious symptoms.
(Click Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis for more information.)