Osteoarthritis Treatment Now
Prescription Drugs continued...
Steroid injections: Quick pain relief is possible when
glucocorticoids (a type of steroid) are injected into the joint for
osteoarthritis treatment. These are typically advised for moderate-to-severe
knee pain or for inflammation that is not relieved by an NSAID.
Hyaluronan injections: Hyaluronic acid is a substance found
in joint fluid. Given as weekly injections directly into the joint, it
increases mobility. Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Orthovisc, Supartz, and Synvisc are
approved for mild-to-moderate knee arthritis.
Narcotic pain relievers: These strong pain relievers
contain narcotics and are often combined with Tylenol. The drugs work on pain
receptors on nerve cells, not on inflammation. There is risk of dependency with
these drugs. They include: Darvocet, Darvon, Lorcet, Lortab, Morphine,
Oxycontin, Percocet, Tylenol with Codeine, and Vicodin.
Osteoarthritis Treatment: The Next Stage
If you have severe joint damage, severe pain, or very limited motion because
of osteoarthritis, you may need surgery. These procedures relieve pain and
allow better mobility:
Arthroscopic surgery: A common outpatient surgical
procedure for knees and shoulders, this allows surgeons to repair the surfaces
of damaged joints -- removing loose cartilage, repairing cartilage tears like
meniscus tears, and smoothing bone surfaces.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Electrical current is used
to heat a small area of nerve tissue, which decreases pain signals from that
tissue. The degree of pain relief varies, but this osteoarthritis treatment is
proven helpful in relieving pain from joint damage.
Joint replacement surgery: When nothing else has worked,
the damaged joint can be replaced with an artificial one. Hips and knees are
most commonly replaced, but artificial joints are now available for shoulders,
fingers, elbows, and back joints.
Osteotomy: When someone is too young for joint replacement,
this procedure can increase stability in a knee or hip joint. It involves
cutting bone to redistribute weight on a joint, making it more stable.
Joint fusion: Also called arthrodesis, this surgery
involves fusing two bones on each end of a joint -- thus eliminating the joint
itself. It is used when joints are severely damaged, causing significant pain.
It is also done when joint replacement is not effective, as with the ankle.
Though the fused joint is not flexible, it is more stable, can bear weight
better, and is no longer painful -- the main points of osteoarthritis