Osteoarthritis - Treatment Overview
there is no cure for
osteoarthritis, treatment can help reduce your
symptoms and make it possible for you to lead a full and active
The goals of
treatment are to:
- Reduce your pain and
- Keep your joints working and
- Keep you from becoming
- Prevent more damage to your
Treatment is based on:
- How bad your symptoms
- How much your symptoms prevent
you from doing your daily
- How well other treatments
- How much damage to the
joint (or joints) you have.
Treatment for mild to moderate
In most cases, people who have mild to
moderate arthritis can manage their symptoms for many
years with a treatment plan that may include:
- Medicines, including
acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Or you may use capsaicin cream on your skin.
- ExerciseExercise to
help keep your muscles strong and your joints
- Weight lossWeight loss, if you're overweight,
to reduce the stress on your joints.
- Heat and cold therapyHeat and cold therapy, such as hot compresses,
ice massage, or
- Physical therapyPhysical therapy
or occupational therapyoccupational therapy.
- Assistive devices and orthoticsAssistive devices and orthotics, such as tape, braces, splints, or canes to
help protect your joints from injury and take the stress off of your
- Changing activities or the way you do thingsChanging activities or the way you do things to rest or reduce the stress on the painful joint
allow you to move better.
- Learning and practicing a "good-health attitude"Learning and practicing a "good-health attitude" to help you cope with the stress
and challenges of living with arthritis.
Some people with arthritis also feel down or depressed. They may describe this as feeling "depressed," "unhappy," "short-tempered," "blue," or "down in the dumps." If you feel like this most of the time, tell your doctor. Treating these symptoms may help you feel better and make it easier for you to do your daily tasks.
Treatment if arthritis gets worse
If the pain and stiffness from arthritis don't get
better or they get worse, your doctor may
If your pain is very bad, you may decide to have
surgery to replace the joint. Or you may decide to have some other kind of surgery that
can help keep your joints moving well and prevent your arthritis from getting
Some types of surgery
For help deciding whether to have joint
replacement surgery, see:
- Arthritis: Should I Have Hip Replacement Surgery?
- Arthritis: Should I Have Knee Replacement Surgery?
- Arthritis: Should I Have Shoulder Replacement Surgery?