A guide to coping with osteoarthritis pain

Are you finally ready to look after your health in the most dedicated manner? Click to learn more about health steps you can take today.

About Me
How to Look After Your Body

My name is Joshua. I've spent many years looking after my health. Once upon a time, back in university, I wasn't too keen on fitness or eating healthily and my body paid for it. I was at the doctor's office all the time. I finally got it through my head that I needed to take better care of myself. These days I take needed vitamins and supplements specific to my body's deficiencies and always try to exercise regularly. This blog is all about ways you can use both natural and traditional medicine and health routines to keep yourself looking and feeling great.


A guide to coping with osteoarthritis pain

26 December 2016
Health & Medical , Blog

Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative disease that gradually destroys a person's cartilage (the connective tissue which serves as cushioning at the ends of human bones). The inflammation and subsequent cartilage damage that this disease causes can result in painful stiffness and swelling in the joints (particularly those located in the lower back, hips and knees). This, in turn, can affect a person's mobility levels and prevent them from going about their daily activities. Here are two approaches to easing the pain associated with this condition.


For osteoarthritis sufferers with mild-to-moderate levels of pain, there are a number of self-help treatments they can employ to reduce their symptoms. 

Cold and hot therapies, for example, can be useful for easing swelling and stiffness, respectively.  Applying a cold compress to a swollen joint will constrict the blood vessels in that area and reduce swelling; the application of a heat pad to a joint can alleviate stiffness by improving blood flow.

Regular physical exercise also be helpful for managing pain levels. It can strengthen the muscles around affected joints and provide them with additional support. Exercise will also increase a person's flexibility and improve their blood circulation, both of which will, in turn, keep stiffness at bay. However, it's important that sufferers do not engage in physical activities which could cause further damage to their joints. Things like long-distance running, which places a lot of pressure on the knees and hips, should, therefore, be avoided.

In addition to the above-mentioned treatments, many sufferers of this condition also use medication to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness. For mild pain, OTC analgesics such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can be effective. However, if the pain is severe and interferes with a person's ability to physically function on a daily basis, stronger,  prescription medications like oral opioids and steroid injections may be provided by their doctor.

The surgical approach

In instances where the sufferer's self-help plan for managing pain isn't working and their symptoms are getting progressively worse, their doctor will usually refer them to an orthopaedic surgeon, who may recommend one of several surgical treatments, such as a joint replacement, a hip resurfacing or an arthroscopy (in which loose fragments of bone or cartilage are removed from a joint).

Where it is possible and appropriate, surgeons often prefer to opt for laparoscopic, rather than open, surgery to treat the affected joint area, as the former is less invasive and thus associated with fewer risks and post-operative complications.