A new study found that hydroxychloroquine, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) sometimes used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus, does not reduce pain related to osteoarthritis (OA) of the hand, possibly ending the hope for an easy solution to a challenging problem.
Pain from hand OA affects an estimated 3 percent to 15 percent of adults over 60 and up to 31 percent of those over 70, making daily tasks difficult and diminishing quality of life. Increasing evidence suggests that low levels of inflammation may be an important source of pain in hand OA, at least in some people. Few medications are effective for hand OA other than traditional pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), acetaminophen and, in more intractable cases, opioids – all of which have side effects and can’t be used in certain populations. Researchers have been looking for other treatments.
Continue reading Anti-inflammatory Drug Doesn’t Help Hand OA
It is clear that physical activity is one of the best ways to combat osteoarthritis pain—but how important are your shoes, and which should you be wearing?
In addition to traditional treatment methods for OA, which include medication, physical therapy and even surgery, doctors now know that footwear can play an important role in knee OA.
Marian T. Hannan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., has conducted research about foot mechanics and pain in the knee. “It is impressive to think that [footwear] makes a difference,” says Hannan. “Whether it’s their foot or brain or the whole package, it appears to work. As a proof of concept it is very appealing.”
There are a wide variety of shoe options available to consider, including stability sneakers, flat walking shoes, minimalist/barefoot sneakers, and rocker-soled sneakers, and an increasing amount of research that can help you decide which is right for you.
Continue reading Can Your Shoe Choice Help – or Hurt – Your Arthritis?
Studies have shown that racial minorities in the United States undergo fewer total knee replacements (TKR) for knee osteoarthritis (OA) than whites do, but the reasons for this are unclear. A new study sheds light on why fewer black Americans tend to have the surgery – and at what cost. It found that African-Americans are offered the option of TKR in fewer cases than whites are, they accept the option less frequently, and when they do undergo the procedure, they have higher rates of complications. Because of these factors, they lose a large number of what’s called “quality-adjusted life years” or QALYs.
Continue reading More African-Americans Could Benefit from Knee Replacement Surgery
People with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) use oral pain medications more often than nondrug pain treatments, such as physical therapy, knee joint injections and topical creams, according to an analysis of three clinical trials. That’s in spite of guidelines that recommend trying nondrug treatments before medications.
The analysis, which appeared recently in Arthritis Care & Research, looked at trials conducted by researchers at Duke University, the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in North Carolina. A total of nearly 1,200 patients ages 61 to 65 participated in the three studies. All participants had knee or hip OA, and most were overweight and treated by a primary care doctor. None got the minimum 150 minutes of physical activity a week recommended for good health.
Continue reading Nondrug Pain Relief Underused for OA
Maybe you overdid it cleaning the house or sprucing up your garden this weekend. Or you’re using a hot or cold pack on your lower back more often over the past few months. Does the pain come and go or seem to be getting worse? Then, it might be time ask your doctor if you have osteoarthritis (OA) in your spine (that runs from the neck to the lower back).
As you age, the cartilage lining the joints of your spine wears down, allowing the bones to rub together, causing back pain and stiffness. Other causes of spinal OA include injury, infection, obesity, or repeated stress (due to some work or sport activities). You’re also more likely to develop back pain related to osteoarthritis if a close relative had it. OA can form in any part of your spine and is sometimes called spondylosis.
But how do you know the difference between run of the mill back pain and osteoarthritis?
Continue reading When A Back or Neck Ache Means You Have OA
One of the benefits of modern medicine is the large selection of pain relievers available. The challenge is finding the right one at the right dose to reduce your osteoarthritis (OA) pain. With so many available, which is the most effective?
Continue reading Which OA Pain Reliever Works Best?
A team of researchers from the United States and Finland has found that rates of knee osteoarthritis (OA) are higher now than in the past – probably not for the reasons you think.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that knee OA is more than twice as common today, in the post-industrial era, as it was at any time before, going back to prehistoric days. People in the 21st century are also more likely to have arthritis in both knees than were people in the past.
Continue reading Knee OA More Common Now Than at Any Time in the Last 6,000 Years
Experts have long recommended tai chi as a low-impact workout that’s gentle on the joints. Research published in 2016 in Annals of Internal Medicine revealed additional benefits: It may be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Continue reading Tai Chi for Knee Osteoarthritis
Chondroitin sulfate improves osteoarthritis (OA) knee pain and functional limitations in walking and daily activities as effectively as the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex), according to a new study published recently in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. But U.S. readers should know, there’s a catch: the researchers tested a version of chondroitin sulfate that is not available in this country.
Continue reading A New Study Finds Pharmaceutical Chondroitin Helps Knee OA Pain and Function
About 40 percent of adults in the United States are likely to develop osteoarthritis (OA) in at least one hand by age 85, and some people are more at risk than others, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their findings were published recently in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.
Continue reading Hand OA Risk Higher for Women, Caucasians, Overweight People