Globally, osteoarthritis (OA) is the third most rapidly rising condition associated with disability. We know the disease affects people of all ages, and given the current rate of population aging, it is estimated that the number of people who suffer from this disease will double in the next three decades. These are staggering statistics that we are actively trying to change.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are not effective treatments for hand or knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new meta-analysis. The drugs are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, but researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) found they were no better than placebo for OA pain. Their findings appeared in June 2018 in Rheumatology.
DMARDs aren’t pain medications. They’re meant to slow the disease and prevent further damage to joints and organs by suppressing inflammation. When DMARDs work, pain usually improves as inflammation gets under control.
When it comes to easing the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA), the more weight loss, the better, according to researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In a study published recently online in Arthritis Care & Research, Stephen Messier, PhD, and colleagues report that overweight and obese adults aged 55 and older with knee OA who lost 20 percent or more of their body weight saw far greater improvements in pain, function, quality of life, inflammation and knee joint stress than those who lost less.
In an earlier trial, the same researchers found that a weight loss of 10 percent – the amount the National Institutes of Health recommends for overweight and obese adults – improved mobility and decreased pain by 50 percent over an 18-month period. In their latest findings, they say doubling weight loss can cut pain and improve function by another 25 percent.
A new study takes a look at which approaches are best to bring relief to people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), a condition that affects approximately 20 percent of people over the age of 45 in the United States.
Knee OA can be extremely painful and limit a person’s ability to function. Although there is no cure, numerous treatments are available to reduce symptoms, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Exercising and losing weight if a patient is overweight or obese also can help. Total knee replacement surgery is effective but is done only in cases where the disease is advanced and it’s medically necessary.
So, which treatment is best? To help sort out the choices, a group of researchers set out to assess how the available non-surgical drug treatments stack up against each other for providing pain relief and improving physical function. The authors did not address lifestyle changes, like weight loss and exercise. The study was published recently in Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).
If you have osteoarthritis (OA), you know all about joint pain and stiffness. One cause of these symptoms is the fact that hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occurring joint lubricant, breaks down in people with OA. To help alleviate the pain, your doctor might recommend treatment with hyaluronic acid injections – sometimes known as gel injections.
What are HA injections?
HA injections replace missing joint lubricant and are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the knees. However, some doctors may use the injections in shoulders and hips as well.
The treatments will most likely take place in your doctor’s office. The HA will be injected directly into the joint. The shots are usually given once a week for three to five weeks, depending on the brand used.