Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Healthcare providers will often combine osteoarthritis treatments to fit an individual person's needs, lifestyle, and health. Exercise, medicines, and other pain-relief options are often employed. Some of the medicines that may be used include COX-2 inhibitors (such as celecoxib) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like meloxicam, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen. Massage and water therapy are examples of non-drug methods of pain relief.

An Overview of Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis damages the joints (the places where two bones meet), making them stiff and painful. Sometimes the disease is so bad it can cripple a person. Osteoarthritis can strike at any age.
While there is no osteoarthritis cure, there are osteoarthritis treatments that can ease the pain and improve function.
Treatment plans can involve:
  • Exercise
  • Medicines
  • Other pain-relief options
  • Surgery
  • Alternative therapies.
Doctors often combine treatments for osteoarthritis to fit a person's needs, lifestyle, and health.

Exercise as an Osteoarthritis Treatment

Exercise is one of the best osteoarthritis treatments. It can:
  • Improve your mood and outlook
  • Decrease pain
  • Increase flexibility
  • Help you maintain a healthy weight.
The amount and form of exercise will depend on which joints are involved, how stable the joints are, whether the joints are swollen, and whether a joint replacement surgery has already been done. Ask your doctor or physical therapist what exercises are best for you and how often you should exercise.
It is recommended that people living with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese lose weight as part of their treatment plan. Weight loss can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints and limit further injury. A dietitian can help people develop healthy eating habits. A healthy diet and regular exercise help reduce weight.
(Click BMI Calculator to find out if your weight is within a healthy range. Click Arthritis and Exercise for more information on how exercise can benefit people with osteoarthritis.)
Top Foods to Fight Inflammation

Osteoarthritis Information

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