Treatment for osteoarthritis includes warm compresses, exercise, muscle strengthening, and weight loss. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroid medications reduce pain and swelling. The treatment for severe osteoarthritis may include joint replacement surgery.
Treatment options for osteoarthritis include:
- Warm compresses may provide relief:
- Apply for 30 minutes at a time
- Some may get relief with cold compresses:
- Apply for 20 minutes at a time
- Exercises for osteoarthritis
- Stretching for osteoarthritis
- Reduce stress on joints:
- Weight loss
- Adjustments in posture
- Occupational adjustments
- Physical therapy:
- Muscle strengthening exercises
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol, Aspirin-Free Anacin)
- Pain control
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications:
- Ibuprofen (Ibuprin, Advil, Motrin)
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
- Esomeprazole and naproxen (Vimovo)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- Muscle relaxant medications:
- May be helpful in cases where there is also muscle spasms
- Corticosteroid injections:
- No more than 4 injections per joint per year as these can potentially damage the cartilage in the joints
- Injection of hylan G-F 20 (Synvisc-One) into arthritic joint:
- May help to relieve symptoms
- Joint replacement surgery for osteoarthritis
- For severely damaged joints
DJD Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for osteoarthritis complications?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat osteoarthritis:
Surgery may be required for those with severe osteoarthritis.
Surgery for Osteoarthritis
- Arthrodesis for osteoarthritis:
- Arthroplasty for osteoarthritis:
- Osteotomy for osteoarthritis:
- Removal of a portion of bone to better realign the joint
- Resection for osteoarthritis:
- Removal of a portion of diseased bone
- Debridement for osteoarthritis:
- Removal of dead or diseased joint tissue
Continue to DJD Home Care
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- Quinn MA, Emery P. Are early arthritis clinics necessary? Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Feb;19(1):1-17.